The 18 Day Novel

This summer while I was enjoying a little break from blogging, I saw in the CANSCAIP news an interview with Canadian author Valerie Sherrard.  I met Valerie last year at Word on the Street. She has the sweetest smile and gentlest spirit in the world. Valerie has had twenty books published and her YA novel, “The Glory Wind,” won so many awards after its publication I’m not sure how she keeps them all straight. Coincidentally, it won the Bilson Award, the same award “Bitter, Sweet” was short listed for in 2010. I was pleased as punch to find this out because I quite enjoyed the book. Some books you know are just destined to garner much deserved attention.

During the interview, Valerie mentioned that she’d written one of her books in just 18 days. Wow! 18 days!!! Did you catch that?  I mean most of us have barely booted up our computers in that amount of time. While I was wowed by this news it also made me question, what the heck is wrong with me?  No wonder I’m just starting my third novel. I picked away at my last novel for a few years. Started. Stopped. Started again until I’d finally made my mind up to finish it. Now mind you, I wrote “Bitter, Sweet” in about three months and was working at the time, but that doesn’t even come close to being 18 days.

Reading this made me wonder how much of my time I spend tooling around the internet and allowing other things to distract me. What if I simply made my mind up to write, write, write until I came to the end. I’ve got a pretty good idea where my next novel is going, I know who my characters are, so what’s the problem?

Discipline. A writer needs to have discipline, and not just those times when the writing process is going great and we’re loving every minute of our WIP (work in progress for my non-writing friends). Discipline is what keeps us steadily plugging away even when we’d rather be out enjoying the sun or watching our favourite TV program.

We also need faith– faith in the fact that we have what it takes to complete a project. This is another area I struggle with, and often why you’ll never hear me mention any details of my WIP. What if I can’t deliver the finished product? What if my story ends up being monkey crap? Oh yes, I’ve written my share of that over the years.

So what’s a writer to do? Why write of course: write and don’t worry about what other writers are able to accomplish. Who knows maybe one day I’ll write a novel in just 17 days.

 

Do other people’s accomplishments inspire you or do they make you feel as though you’ll never be any good?

I’m a SCAIPER

What, you’ve never heard of a SCAIPER?

That’s SCAIPER as in CANSCAIPER.

If you’re from Canada and you write for kids you have likely heard of this organization.

Let’s keep this simple.

CANSCAIP is a National Arts Service Organization dedicated to the celebration and promotion of Canadian children’s authors, illustrators and performers and their work.

You don’t have to be a published author to join. You can become a “friend” and still keep up with all the news. It’s also a great way to find out more about your favourite Canadian children’s author, illustrator or performer.

Here’s the link to the CANSCAIP site. If you click into members you can find my page. And if you don’t, well then, you won’t find it. Told you it was simple.

Today, I received word that the CANSCAIP site had added a list of the member’s book trailers. Many of you have already seen the trailer for Bitter, Sweet. My daughter and I put it together, about a year and a half ago on one of my visits, shortly after Miss Charlotte was born.

If you’re familiar with Dalhousie, the pictures we used  in the trailer are all from the area. Kind of “cool and neat” as Miss Charlotte likes to say. And yes, that’s an actual shot of the Dalhousie Road where the story is set. Now, I personally don’t live on the section of road that is unpaved, but yes, part of the road today is still dirt just like back in the 1940’s. Unfortunately, the deserted house featured in the video was torn down last summer. It had been empty for some years and I suppose there was no one to keep up repairs. Oh, and the little guy holding up the trout is my husband at about seven or eight. The joke in our family is that hubby loves to see videos of himself so it only seemed fitting that he’d make an appearance.

 If you’re interested in checking out some of the other trailers slip on over and have a gander. You’ll find mine there as well. This link will take you directly to page. Here. In the next while, I’m going to check these trailers out to get some “cool and neat” ideas for my next book trailer.

*Keep in mind if you’re on dial-up, as I know many of my friends from the area are, it’ll take awhile for these YouTube videos to upload. Be patient.

Oh and while you’re here, might I say, Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. May your day be filled with sunshine, roses and chocolate. If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t buy into the whole notion of Valentine’s Day have some chocolate anyway. Even the most mundane day can be improved with chocolate. Oh here, I’ll give you the chocolate myself.  Enjoy.

Book Bash

On Saturday evening local children’s authors and illustrators writers of children’s book from the area got together at the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia to present the books they published in 2009. There was a long list of authors and illustrators presenting their books that evening.

Talk about author overload….I mean that in a very good way.

I’ve been a member of this organization for many years but this is the first time I’d been to the Federation office and the first time I’d met most of these talented writers. When you live out in rural areas it’s not so easy to participate in many of the events offered. It’s not just a matter of jumping into the car and off you go. A two hour drive often makes you think twice, especially during a working week. And to be honest, until Saturday night, I’d never given it much thought. Sometimes situations are the way they are and you just don’t question them.

Earlier that day I’d met Jill MacLean at the book launch for Unlocked. Jill is the author of The Nine Lives of Travis Keating and most recently The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy, two wonderful books for young people. The Nine Lives of Travis Keating won the Ann Conner Brimer Award and The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy has been nominated this year for the same award…Yay Jill!! Imagine my delight when Jill bought a copy of my book that evening for me to sign.

No photos of Noreen Smiley, who is our CANSCAIP rep for Eastern Canada. I introduced myself to Noreen earlier in the day at the book launch, another wonderfully supportive author. I chatted a bit with Kate Inglis (author of The Dread Crew, Nimbus Publishing). Again, no photo. I’ll have to speak to my photographer.!

I’m not ashamed to say, I was like an excited child when Budge Wilson sat beside me. Budge is also an award winning author and another truly talented writer in our area. Of all the writers for children’s book that I ever hope to meet, Budge is up there at the top of my list. She’s simply amazing and the sweetest, most down to earth person you’d ever want to meet.

I’d met Steve Vernon at Word on the Street back in September. Steve’s a great support to local writers and a fellow Nimbus author. Steve has turned his talents from writing ghost stories to include writing for kids with his Maritime Monsters book, proving his versatility as a writer. Way to go, Steve!

The evening was a wonderful celebration, a time for me to meet other authors which is not something I get to do very often. What a great group of people. My only regret was that we had to leave earlier than I would have liked to. That long drive home, you know.

So that was my weekend. Pretty frigging awesome I’d say. I’ll take author overload any day.

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