Friday, October 22, 2010

YA Writers! Enter the "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest

Here's a contest you shouldn't pass up if you're writing a young adult novel and are looking for help from a pro.  The Guide to Literary Agents Blog is having one of its fabulous contests called "Dear Lucky Agent" where you submit the first 15 - 200 words of your YA novel and get the chance to win:

1) A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge (the fabulous Tamar Rydzinksi of Laura Dail Literary Agency). 2) A free one-year subscription to

Check out all the juicy details here.

Work Work Work

Sorry that it's been awhile since I've posted.  The infrequency will likely continue for a month or so because:

1. The day job is fricking BUSY.  Which is good, don't get me wrong.  We have four pilots picked up and the networks want most of them yesterday, so we're deep into finding directors, actors, line producers, blah blah blah.  It's fascinating to watch people match themselves up to work on a big creative endeavor like a TV pilot.  Chemistry is almost as important as talent, seems to me, given how closely these folks have to work together.

2.  I'm writing out a plan for a major rewrite.  It's not quite the same thing as doing the actual rewrite, it's more like a map of it.

Okay, I guess that's really the first step of a rewrite, is the map.  Some people don't map things out at all and they just plunge in, but I'm a planner.  I need to know where I'm going.  It gives the character's concrete goals and attitudes, so that once I start the actual writing, it flows much faster and I'm less likely to get stuck.  If you get stuck a lot, I recommend a writing or rewriting map.  Or even if you rewrite a lot - a map can save you some of that time. 

Of course, making the map is taking longer than I'd hoped because of #1, above.

3. I'm going to Italy soon.  I'm not going to say exactly when because I keep seeing news pieces on people who were robbed because they broadcast online that they were out of town.  And the cool part isn't when, it's that I'M GOING TO ITALY!!  We'll spend a big chunk of time in Rome, then down to explore Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, then a few days on the Amalfi Coast.  Perhaps we'll toss in a day trip to Capri in there.  We'll see how the weather goes and what the boat schedules are. 

Mostly I just want to eat the food there.  Bringing the stretchy jeans, baby.

I've got my route from airport to hotel all mapped out, day tours of the Vatican and Underground Rome planned (I have a thing for catacombs, laybrinths, tunnels, and the like.)  I've printed out articles praising various trattorias, osterias, and gelaterias.  I've purchased a lined anorak to combat both cold and wet, and I have the comfy rainproof walking boots I purchased in Prague.  Planning's part of the fun.

On, and don't forget the Italian refresher.  I bought lessons on cd for Italian 2 (I took a year of Italian in college and got pretty fluent while living in Bologna for a semester).  It's weird to wrap my lips around the language again, a kinetic exercise that brings memories of friendly bakers, bus riders, waiters, and passersby flooding back.  I haven't been to Rome since college, and then it was only for one day.  One day in Rome??  What was I thinking?

I'll post some photos when I return. 

Oh, and 4.  I'm trying to have some semblance of a life.  You know, that whole social/working out/going out/having fun thing.  Am in particular looking forward to the Gourd Mutiliation Festival, wherein pumpkins are carved and prizes awarded.

Also, Zenyatta is running in the Breeder's Cup Classic November 6.  Set your Tivos!

I'll try to post again before I leave, but meanwhile you can find me on twitter and facebook.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Zenyatta, Horse Racing Legend

I went to Hollywood Park yesterday to see Zenyatta run.  She's the six year old mare who's taken the racing world by storm after winning an unbelievable 19 out of 19 races.

Above is one my own photos of her just before she ran a breath-taking race, gave us all heart attacks, then won the Lady's Secret Stakes 2010.  Now that she's won it three times, they plan to name the race after her.  She's a huge, elegant, cocky creature, full of personality and uncanny athletic ability.

If you've never heard of her or watched one of her races online, do yourself a favor and watch her run in the video below.  This is the Breeder's Classic from last year, where she beats all the best horses in the country in her usual edge-of-your-seat fashion.