Like the Velveteen Rabbit...Only with Hate

One of my critique partners sent me an e-mail yesterday to the effect of (and I'm paraphrasing, but you'll get the gist): "I hate my main character. Hate her. Hate her. Hate her. I never want to type her name again. Hate her." 

My (oh-so-sympathetic) response: "About time."

See, her good. Her story? Compelling. And now, her main character? Real.

I have this theory. Your main character isn't truly living, breathing, and real until you good and hate her. Until the thought of killing her off seems delightful. Until you want to do a universal Find/Replace to change your character's name to "DieEvilSpawnOfBeelzebubDie."

The dangerous times are when you just. don't. care. And I've had plenty of those times, too. But the fact is, when you have those strong emotions about your characters, it means they've struck a chord somewhere down deep in you. Which means they'll probably strike a chord down deep in someone else as well. 

Just don't do anything too rash like pull out all the stuffing and hit "delete all."

Things I Heart Right Now

Is it the phenomenal cast? I'm looking at you, Dame Maggie Smith. The not one but two heart wrenching unrequited love plot lines? The writing? I gasped and almost threw my shoe at my television during the season finale. Or the fact that I can watch it all for free on Netflix?

Don't know. Don't care. Just keep it coming, PBS.

You, too, Michael Ian Black. And for the record, it is rare that I sing the praises of a celebrity picture book author (fyi, there's not enough bold and italics in the world for that "rare"). This book almost made me pee my pants laughing. And there's so much truth in it. A pig parade is a terrible idea.

Kudos, Michael Ian Black.

And kudos to Lisa and Laura Roecker, also. Just finished The Liar Society. It rocked. Loved Kate's voice. Go buy it.

And, of course, 'tis the season to give these little guys a shout-out:

An Open Letter to Spring

Dear Spring,

Hey there, (not too) Hot Stuff. Feel free to stay as long as you'd like. Just leave the allergens at the door.

Love, Karen

P.S. On a completely unrelated side note, I totally saw Ellen Hopkins' doppelganger yesterday at the post office. Okay, that's all I had to say.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I Kid. You. Not. Earlier this morning, I was standing in front of my closet deciding what to wear in my usual stupor, and I almost went with a gray T-shirt. But at the last minute, I decided, "No. I'll wear this green shirt."

Didn't realize it's St. Patrick's Day until two minutes ago. Don't judge me. I'm German.

Have a good one.


People have been asking me for details of the Big Sur Writing Workshop, and it's been hard to come up with the right words. (I couldn't even come up with a good title for this post.) In some ways, it was harder than I expected. Not just the writing, but the emotional part of it. I was one of 80-something writers there. Some of them further along in the journey. Some with  more innate talent. More time. More drive. All of us desiring the same thing. 

It was humbling.

But also hopeful. The feedback I received, both from my critique groups and from Anica and Mary, was incredible. I'm truly looking at my story and my writing in a different way. My roommate was wonderful and so encouraging. (More on that later. Winkity-wink.)

All that to say, I highly recommend it. And that's all I have to say about that.

Houston, We Have a Winner

Sorry I've been such a space cadet this last week. I'd like to promise you that I'm back in orbit, but...umm...yeah. 

The winner of A Curse Dark as Gold is...

Yay! I'll e-mail you for your address, Myrna. Oh, and she had the very unique "Goose Girl" as her favorite fairy tale to jump into. But I'm with Laurel. Give me elves to do my bidding.

And, just FYI, I'm deliriously happy about my next Cheapskate Giveaway. That's all the hint you get.

There and Back Again.

I got back from the Big Sur Writing Workshop late Monday night. I can't really put it into words yet. Rachel Searles (who I technically didn't meet until the workshop was over) has two great posts up about it. Elizabeth Briggs, who was in one of my critique groups with Mary Kole, also has a great recap. (following blog link...) As does Mary Kole. And. Mary says in her recap that several of her upcoming posts were inspired by her crit sessions. I'll let you know if any of my personal idiocy writing is involved.

My other critique group was with the fantabulous Anica Rissi of Simon Pulse. Seriously. I think I have a new editor crush. And if you're reading this, Elana Johnson? So. Jealous.

A cookie to anyone who can guess how many items were in my Google Reader when I got back?

Anyone? Anyone?



Also. I'll announce the winner of my Cheapskate Giveaway later this week. Not sure when yet. Still digging myself out of laundry.

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

...I don't know when I'll be back aga--.

No. That's not true at all. I'll be back next Monday.

I'm headed to the Big Sur Writing Workshop, and I was going to pre-write all my blog posts to post while I was gone. I was going to have the house spring-cleaned for my mother-in-law's arrival. I was going to pre-package all the Pea's meals for her. I was going to be packed by this point.

Then, our car started leaking oil. Our ancient printer ran out of toner (which doesn't sound like that big a deal, but the only place I can buy said toner is two towns away). The Pea fell and hit his head last night, and the nurse said I needed to wake him up every 2-4 hours to make sure he could speak coherently.

So. Yeah.

I'll see you Tuesday.

Don't forget to enter my Cheapskate Giveaway if you haven't already.

The Second First Draft

I had an epiphany the other day.

My second draft is usually worse than my first. (Or, at least, just as bad.) And that's a good thing.

I tend to write a fairly "clean" first draft, but it's stiff, awkward. The second draft is where I am able to dig in and let my freak flag fly.

Of course, right now, I'm working on a ninth draft that I'm having to do that to. I'm not calling it a rewrite. Because I don't want to break down weeping. But I realized that I was polishing all the silver on the Titanic. It was gleaming and yet dull at the same time. Time to toss out the polish and make a bigger mess than I started with.

Also...Still time to enter my Cheapskate Giveaway and win a copy of A Curse Dark as Gold.