review: write your novel in a month

review: write your novel in a month. I wish I could give this book all-around marks, but some ignorant, poorly-executed comments made this book hard to read.

Posted in rude rants, rude reads | Leave a comment

what changes you bring

barb:

More thoughts on mission-driven scene execution on the PeoWriMos blog

Originally posted on PeoWriMos -- Peoria Writers' Group:

I’m writing by the seat of my pants this summer more than I ever have. It’s a lot of things–weird, wonderful, exciting, terrifying, roundabout, experimental, liberating, and slow-going.

Every novel I’ve written teaches me something. Sometimes the lessons came in failures. Others were simply in the practice of doing.

This pantsing summer for me has taught me much in the practice of doing (there’s plenty of lessons via failure, as well, I’m sure). How it feels awkward and stumbly, a bit like blindfolding myself over a tightrope of questionable stability.

There’s lots for me to cling to, to reinforce my sense of balance, of direction, and trust. After all, I’ve written a scene or two before. And dialog, physical conflict, emotions, all that good fictiony stuff. Now, instead of having a lot of these juicy bits planned out, prepared for, researched, and imagined, they come out as they come out.

View original 194 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

emotion, experience, empathy

emotion, experience, empathy. On the PeoWriMos blog, I share some thoughts about how fiction gets us through the day.

Posted in rude rambles, rude writes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

sunbaby diapers – a review

052Cloth diapers can be really overwhelming.

I took a leap of faith and bought 24 Sunbaby diapers before T was born, because stuffable diapers seemed like the way to go.

They’re the cheapest name-brand diapers on the market. I’m sure some would still insist Sunbabies are China Cheapies, but the fact remains: they are affordable, and I can’t judge a Mama for choosing affordable. Cloth diapering can be stupid expensive if you let it, with designer prints and accessories–especially if you don’t know where to start, and wind up trying a ton of different types before settling on something that works.

After 20 months of hard, every-other-day use and as many washes, I’m still happy with them. And here’s why:

The Bad

Most of my Sunbaby diapers look ‘sloppy’–the snaps aren’t in perfect lines, some of the seams are crooked, and at least six of the snaps on 24 diapers came off within the first couple months. I bought a pair of snap pliers to fix them.

These diapers are bulky. On smaller babies, they make for funny-looking butts. In the summer, the extra amount of lining in them makes T sweaty and sticky.

The Neutral

Only two sizes and when prints are announced, some of them disappear awful fast as Sunbaby addicts flood the website on release days. However, two sizes is plenty flexible–T wears the same size at 20 months that he did at 3 weeks, with different snap placements.

There’s a flap of fabric at the back of the diaper to prevent blowouts from crawling up the baby’s back. I’m ambivalent towards the flap, mostly because I’ve never noticed it come in handy, but it could come in handy for disastrous poops.

The Good

These diapers hold lots of poop. Never once had a blowout with these, and I can’t say that for the actual China Cheapies I picked up from a co-op, or any disposable ever.

These diapers are easy to use. Even my dad can figure them out. As far as entry level diapers go, this is a good one.

The elastic on the back and hips are longer than other brands, so they stay snug. The downside of this is that there is more fabric all around–lining, back flap, and shell.

The Great

I came to new appreciation of Sunbaby diapers when I converted one into a PUL-only shell. Essentially, I took one apart–pulled out the liner, removed the elastic, and I loved what I found:

The elastic is put in so professionally, slip-case style. That’s why they fit so well–the elastic is attached at each end, and not sewn directly into the diaper along the hip like the other diapers I have. The result is fewer pinch points, as the elastic remains uniformly tight as those chubby legs move.

Better yet, the elastic is the good stuff–a full half inch and braided. The elastic has held up so well that even though I pulled it out to remove the lining, I put it right back in.

tl;dr: Sunbabies are a great stuffable diaper. They’ve held up well to hard use, and grown up well with T.

Posted in rude mom | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

a (quick) scene checklist

barb:

On our writer’s blog today, because I’m procrastinating on Camp NaNo… Happy Writing!

Originally posted on PeoWriMos -- Peoria Writers' Group:

We’re one week into Camp NaNoWriMo! Did you survive the holiday weekend with your novel intact?

I didn’t as well as I wanted to, but that’s okay–seeing family was good, and helping my toddler recover from all that family (and not enough sleep) was necessary.

Now Monday rolls in with this reminder that Camp is a quarter over and I’m right where I left off five days ago. So here’s something I’m using today to get me jump-started back into noveling excitement…

A (Quick) Scene CheckList:
Does my scene…

  • have a mission or story purpose?
  • raise the stakes, escalate the conflict, or introduce danger?
  • create/show motivation, needs, or flaws?
  • evoke all five senses?
  • have dialog/internal monolog?
  • have a strong point of view?
  • have a setting that the characters use/are influenced by?
  • show us something specific and new about the characters/story?
  • have a beginning/middle/end?
  • reflect the context of the novel (foreshadowing…

View original 67 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

candy bar scenes

candy bar scenes. on my writers’ group blog, I talk about Holly Lisle’s great writing advice.

Posted in rude rambles, rude writes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

fingernail dirt

barb:

Blogging today at PeoWriMos with some Camp NaNoWriMo encouragement!

Originally posted on PeoWriMos -- Peoria Writers' Group:

“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

Camp is messy.

Building fires, cooking food on a stick, sleeping with spiders. Bug spray, sunblock, chlorine hair.  Raucous songfests with bawdy lyrics,  unrehearsed skits, telling jokes through quiet hour.

Going to camp means you’ll get dirt under your fingernails. Maybe even paint in your hair, too, and that’s okay, because whatever you’re making is fun to make and yours to enjoy. Nobody expects you to bring home a masterpiece from summer camp–just some stories and a promise that you had lots…

View original 185 more words

Posted in rude rambles, rude writes | Tagged , | Leave a comment