Thursday, July 24, 2008

STDev and book update

I just had to let you all know--because I know you're awaiting the news as eagerly as you're awaiting the next Twilight book--that I got an A- on my STDev test, which gave me an A- in the class.

I am clearly not the perfectionist that I was in college the first time, because that minus sign only bugs me a little. (Stupid little minus sign.)

Still, for the moment, I am a straight A student. I will enjoy it for this one class streak. Yep. It feels good.

Oh, and speaking of updates, I'm on 10,905 words of the new novel. I'm trying not to get discouraged about the many words I have left to write. After all, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

Of course, if you were really trying to eat an elephant one bite at a time he would probably stomp on you and gore you with his tusks. In a lot of ways, this is just like writing, so the metaphor works doubly well.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

On the other hand, maybe college isn't such a good idea

Here is a confession: I never finished college. I meant to, but after my husband graduated and we moved to Arizona, it just became one of those goals that went on the back burner. I always said I'd go back when all the kids went to school, but hey, then I turned into a writer and there just didn't seem to be the need or the time to go back.

But last year was frustrating in a lot of ways. A few bad days as an author and I found myself surfing the Internet for other career possibilities. Another bad day and I actually sent in an application to a university, then bam another bad day and I registered for an online course.

I didn't take it--the no time thing hadn't changed--and so a couple of weeks ago they sent me a reminder letter that the deadline was coming up.

Well, I'd already paid for it, and really I always did want to finish my degree, so I buckled down and got it done. It's a one credit required course called Student Developement 100 and is basically about how to become a successful student.

On the website the class is listed as STDev 100, but somehow my mind skipped over those lower case e and v and I've been referrring to it as STD 100, which might not have been so bad except that I just had to go to the testing center to take the final.

And yes, I did go to the desk and tell the lady that I was there for my STD 100 test.

And no, I didn't realize how that sounded until she gave me this shocked sort of look, like I was entirely in the wrong place and if it was my 100th test then maybe I just needed to choose a different lifestyle.

Then I quickly told her that I meant Student Developement 100.

See, this is why I'm never going to run out of embarrassing stories for my books.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The evil new computer

We got a new computer. It was time. The last one was so old and slow that the other computers just laughed at it whenever it went on the Internet. The problem is that the new computer now has Vista.

"Why in the world did you buy a computer with Vista when you know I hate Vista?" I asked my husband, aka Techno-Bob.

My laptop has Vista. I think the word Vista is actually just one of those scrambled words that really means: Is Vat. This is fitting because anything I type on my laptop sooner or later disappears into a vat-like black hole where I can't retrieve it. And don't even bother using the search function on Vista. If you type in the words: Proposal for ARA, you are never going to find your proposal for ARA. It will bring up three hundred documents whose titles are not Proposal for ARA but that somewhere in the body use the words, Proposal, for, or some part of ARA.

I could go on and on about Vista, like how it took me about a year to find the insert ruler button amongst all the web layout, switch windows, and Macros buttons. (I don't know what any of those buttons do or why they are on my computer.) My last novel looked like it was typed on a PowerPoint slide until I was halfway through it. Really. It's just so annoying.

My husband knows how I feel about Vista because I have threatened to turn my laptop into an expensive Frisbee, many many times.

So then he told me, "The new computer has Vista because they all have Vista now."

I am not much of a conspiracy theory person, but I know this is a conspiracy--probably by aliens who are trying to permanently cripple the computer-using workforce. Or maybe just some horrible joke Bill Gates is playing on us.

Now the computer is refusing to spellcheck my emails. It says, "This language is no longer available for spellcheck."

I wonder if it would spellcheck my emails if I wrote them Lebanese. I may have to resort to that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Starting a new book

My editor, AKA the bow-tied one, asked me to send him plot ideas for my next novel. "They don't have to be fully developed," he told me. "Just any ideas that you think are good."

So I sent him several plot ideas complete with beginnings, middles, and ends.

He didn't choose any of those. In fact, he chose one that I don't actually remember writing. It was a one sentence thing that I threw in for some reason (probably to show him I was trying to be versatile)which had no beginning, middle, end, conflict, or story question.

So that's what I've been working on. I wrote the first five thousand words, changed them, and have now thrown them away. I started over again yesterday and am now two thousand words into it.

Moral of the story: Do not send your editor one sentence story premises just to show that you can be versatile. Versatility, it turns out, is way overrated.

He called to talk to me about the new plot, giving me many instructions and I would tell you everything he had to say about it, except that in the middle of the conversation he said, "And I don't want to see any of these things I'm telling you on your blog."

"You won't," I said, "because you never read my blog."

He paused then said, "Yeah, but I make my assistant read it, and she flags it for me every time you mention me."

So now I'm considering randomly inserting the word: Tim into every blog just so he'll have to read them all. And by the way: Hi Shauna! I hope you like my blogs. Call me later so we can talk about Tim behind his back.

(Note to Tim: Just kidding. Please do not tell any more large crowds that I skip out on paying my parking fees.)

Anyway, I'm supposed to have the new book done by the end of August. The way things are going it may not be done until August 50th or so.

Manuscript update: 4,580 words written. Aproximately 45,000 to go.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Haiku, Low-ku, and chocolate

I forgot to add one thing about my class at BYU, and that was the Low-ku contest. (Haiku that is low on the poetic scale.) I thought Mike in my class wrote the best Low-ku poem. He was simply robbed when he didn't win the contest, so as a consolation prize I am posting his poem here where it will be seen by (according to statcounter) approximately five hundred viewers this week. Of course also according to statcounter many of these viewers will be from countries that don't actually speak English,so I'm not sure why they are stopping by my blog. Oh well, everyone is welcome here and if I knew how to say that in Portuguese and Chinese I would.

By Mike Blakesley

Boogidee the bird
flew by Tansy the bird dog.
We still find feathers.

This, according to Mike is a true story.

On a heavier note--heavier because I'm completely switching topics and now speaking about all the calories I've consumed lately--I'm returning to Arizona tomorrow. I've been traipsing around the Oregon and Utah for the last three and a half weeks and basically eating like I've been living on the Good ship Calories-don't-matter-so eat-whatever-tastes-good.

Seriously, I don't think I've ever eaten so many deserts and stuff. There is a tub of chocolate covered raisins upstairs in my mother's kitchen which I keep returning to like some sort of homing pigeon. Through constant use, I've rubbed off some of the lettering on the tub so that it now reads: Chocolate sins. And yes they are.

Reality and bran flakes will come tomorrow. Tonight there are more chocolate sins to be devoured.