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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Staying Positive

Sorry I've been absent.  I'm sick (yet again), and I've been in a bit of a slump lately.  So the brain cells haven't been cooperating when it comes to the blog.  So I found one of my posts from last January that pretty much sums up what I've been doing to drag myself back to the land of sunshine and rainbows. I've added some additional thoughts in blue to show what I've been up to:)

For my post today, I want to discuss ways to stay positive when you hit a slump. Since I went through one of these recently, I've had the opportunity to try several different things. Some of the ones that I tried that did help are as follows:

1. Get out of the house. Staying inside and dwelling on the negative will just make things seem so much worse than they really are. Very true. Plus, the weather has been great here for the past few weeks. So I've been outside with the kiddos a lot more. They even got me to swing with them!

2. Read a book. It's true. When you can lose yourself in someone else's adventures/loves/woes, you can forget about your own problems for a while. I was at good ol' Wal-Mart yesterday and I decided to browse the book section. I scored Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton, which I've been wanting to read. So far, it's wonderful!

3. Watch a great movie/t.v. program. Much like reading a book, you can immerse yourself in someone else's life or even learn something new. (Got an idea to help me with my current WIP by doing this, too) I' I forgot how much I love Glee. I hadn't watched any episodes since December, but I had a Glee marathon last Friday. I seriously laughed so much that my side hurt (I can't help but love Sue).

4. Visit writing-related blogs. Perhaps I did this too much, but visiting blogs of fellow writers always makes me feel better. I can get inspiration, advice, or even a good laugh from ya'll. Sorry I've been slacking on this lately. I'll get around soon!

5. Spend time with family and friends. It's tempting to want to sit and think about your WIP all of the time when you're in a slump, but sometimes you just need to step away and live your life. And nobody knows you better than your family and friends, so go out and interact with them. And who knows, you may pick up just the right snippet of conversation or observe something brilliant that will get the creative juices flowing again. Again, so very true. I've been spending more outside time with the kids, with other family members, and I even got my husband to take me out on a date night. I loved getting to have some kid-free time, and the writer in me was thrilled with the weird conversations I overheard.

These are just a few things I've tried, but there are many more out there. What have you done to stay positive during a slump?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's The Big Deal About Tense?

I read the blog post at Kidlit.com today talking about tense in books and it made me think.  What is the big deal?  I've read books written in past tense and books written in present tense that I've enjoyed.  I've read books written in past tense and books written in present tense that I didn't like. And the tense had nothing to do with whether I liked the books or not.  For me, it came down to the writing itself.  If the author could craft a story that was engaging, had characters I cared about, and had a satisfying ending, then I liked it.  If the writing was flat, then I didn't.

I know there are some people who would disagree.  One of the earliest readers of my WiP remarked that the first person, present tense I used was distracting.  That surprised me.  But I guess if you're used to reading past tense, then going to something in present tense would be more noticeable.

To be perfectly honest, I can't even remember reading anything in present tense until The Hunger Games.  I'm sure I did, it's just I don't remember.  But The Hunger Games made a huge impression on me because the writing was fantabulous.  Now, it seems like present tense is very popular, especially in YA.  Some of my favorite reads lately have all been present tense - Matched by Ally Condie, The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis are just a few.

So how do you feel about tense. Do you prefer past tense over present tense or does it matter as long as the story is good?