Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Close Calls

I spent most of yesterday in the hospital. My very best friend (the one who I had spent the night with eating and watching chick flicks just a few nights before) called me Sunday night. She was in the emergency room with her hubby. They were thinking appendicitus. Yesterday early, I got another call. It wasn't an appendicitus. She was now in ICU. It was diverticulitus and they had almost lost him during the night. He was going in for emergency surgery. I threw on my clothes and left a list for my own dh telling him who had to be where when and then I jetted over to the hospital. I could see her fear. Heck, I could smell it and it matched my own.

What if something happened? What if he didn't make it through the surgery? Her son is 16 and daughter 13. They live in the basement of her FIL's home to help take care of him and the farm. Not to mention losing your life mate of 18 years.

He made it through surgery and the outlook is very good. He should be fine. But no warning, no nothing. You life just changes in an instant. Makes me want to hug everyone.

But I have to tell you, I came home and appreciated the hell out of my husband.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Weekend of Parties

Went to my best friend's house Friday night. Her family was gone so it was just her and I. She laid out a big spread for us: Hummus, a baguette, veggie tray, crackers, artichoke dip, little spinach and three cheese mixtures in a crusty pocket and tiny chocolate eclairs. We washed it all down with Spanish coffees and margaritas and watched chick flicks all evening. Actually into the wee hours. At two am I finally called it... I was just three hours shy of being up for 24 hours and I am just too bloody old for that.

Last night, the kids and I went to a Halloween party. Much fun and frolicking. It was a family party so got to visit with relatives. Poor dh couldn't go. He had to work, but the rest of us had a blast.

A very cool thing is that I finished the OTE proposal and sent it off. Not sure if it will do any good, but hey, I finished it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Daunting Task

I have written several hundred articles in the past 7 years. I've always thought it was stupid to have them just sitting there, not doing anything. I also haven't kept very good track of them. So I came up with a cover letter to send out to regional magazines offering them my backlog. I then gave them the topics that I generally cover and told them to contact me for a list of titles under the topic they are interested in.

Now I have to get a list of all those titles together and make sure the document is in the right folder. Theres a couple of problems with this.
  1. I don't have all my work. Basically, I've just put them in a general folder along with interviews, etc. Some were misplaced and while I've tried to keep a link to the online copy of everything, I know I have missed a bunch.
  2. I've changed computers a couple of times. Of course, I saved them on floppys, but some of my floppys won't open.
  3. The names I have on my doc.s don't match the title they were published under. I am not a good title person. I let my talented editors come up with that. For instances, my doc says Children's Carseats. The actual title it's finally published under says, Oops Don't do it Again: Everything you Need to Know About Buying, Installing and Using Carseats Correctly. Chances are that will sell better than children's carseats... so I have to go through the iParenting's entire online archive and try to match my docs to the online names and gather the ones I missed. Right now, I am just saving the links, but eventually I will want to copy and paste all my missing articles into my now neatly organized folders.
  4. Can we say tedious?

In other news, I have two crits back on my proposal. Well done! I still have some stuff to work on to address the editor's concerns. One of my main problems is the characterization of my main character. Unfortunately, she is most like the actual girls I know. She pretty much has everything. Lots of money, parents who adore her, looks and friends...plus being a fab figure skater. 90 percent of the figure skaters I know are just like her. So I gave her parents who are breaking up to give her more sympathy. her perfect world isn't so perfect anymore, but that doesn't come across in the manuscript... So I am going to go over it again and see what I can do.

The thing is... Okay, let's see if I can explain this... I think she is the one teen girls will like better, because they want what she has. She has the name brand clothes, the cute car, the hockey guys all over her. They will want to be her. As adults... we will like the other girl better because we will sympathize more with her... she's had to fight and claw her way up and is determined. As adults, we know she has more character. I didn't make the rich girl a bitch and have the poor girl be the good one. That's cliche. They can both be bitches, but they both have good things about them too. They have a visceral reaction to one another that leads them to see the same events from very different viewpoints. So that is my delimma. Sigh. I just have to find a way to get that across early. Okay, enough complaining... I will just have to find a way to make the rich girl more sympathetic... Or maybe just understand her motivations better.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Got my help!

You guys are awesome:) My agent sistah and friend, Stephanie Hale, and my recently agented fellow Oregonian, Elisabeth Naughten took on the daunting task of checking over my fevered attmpts at revisions.

I spent the last two days pouring over the first three chapters. When I say days, I mean the entire day... from 5:30 am till about 10:00 at night with barely any breaks for eating or driving kids. The manuscript is better... I think. Hard to tell after looking at it that long. I think I did what the editor wanted. I just hope it's still coherent whole with all the changes. I am a better writer now. My voice is more developed and I hope that came across. I refuse to get my hopes up, though. What ever happens will happen.

Better run and catch up on my nonfiction.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Need help

Here's the gig.

I got word yesterday that the editor who said she would love to see On the Edge again if I revised it, would still love to see it. (she originally gave me the R in April so we wanted to see if she was still interested) Now, this is a long shot, but I am willing to revise the first three chapters with one eye on her comments. She had quite a few, so she was at least somewhat invested in the book. But, honestly, it's the last shot my little skate book has.

So here's where you all come in. I want a few professional writers to go over the proposal with one eye on the comments and do a critique. I am not going to use the Cp's who had already gone over it when I was writing it and my fav CP is swamped with work this week. At this point, I have one chapter done.

I usually frown on doing this sort of thing in a public forum, but feel pretty comfortable with most of you... also, my agent already has it, many editors have already looked at it, so I am pretty much not worried about someone stealing my work.

So anyone game at checking out a few chapters of a young adult skate novel? One at a time? I'd be so, so appreciative. Just send me an email at diddymon@verizon.net.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Things I Look Forward to This Week

NO! I did not get an offer! The title was things I look forward to this week, not things that have happened! Trust me. I would be a little bit more open if I did:) I winked because I am not a big believer in Karma, though my agent did tell me I should enter the GH because as soon as I commit fifty bucks.... Something will happen to make me forfeit it:)

So, no, Don't get your undies in a bundle. No offer.

  1. A short to do list that includes, two articles, prep for two more articles, revising chapter three as it comes in from my Cp's, and developing ideas I have for three more YA's.
  2. Enjoying the front yard that my dh and I finally got cleaned up yesterday.
  3. Getting a check from my main client.
  4. My children being in school.
  5. Finishing up Cherry Adair's, Edge Of Danger.
  6. Taking a whole bunch of stuff to the dump!
  7. A sleepover this Friday Night where I will descend upon my best friend's home and inbibe margaritas and watch as many Sex in the City episodes as we can. (her family is gone)
  8. A Halloween costume party Saturday night that my teens can go to.
  9. Finally getting a call from my agent telling me that I had an offer on my book. (that's just thrown out there for good karma;)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pros and Cons of My Day

Pro: The conferences went great and the ice princess is doing very well in school.
Con: My dh woke me up at 3:50 am and I couldn't get back to sleep.
Pro: I did get a lot done this morning including the article from hell.
Con: To finish the article from hell, I had to call Scotland. Twice.
Pro: I am right on track for making as much money in one month as I have ever made.
Con: ON THE EDGE is officially dead after I got a rejection yesterday. Unless the editor who wanted me to make massive edits will look at it again.
Pro: LIPS is still alive.
Con: It hasn't sold yet.
Pro: I finished the proposal for HOT
Con: It took me five months to write three chapters! (but the foster kids came so it was understandable.)
Pro: The foster kids don't live here anymore.
Pro: The foster kids don't live here anymore.
Pro: The foster kids don't live here anymore.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Can anyone be a writer?

Been having an interesting discussion on muses on a couple of my lists. Since I just posted about my muse, I thought this a funny coincidence. What I also think is funny is how passionate people are against the whole muse concept. "Writer's use it as an excuse," is on opinion. Another is that "we need to look at writing as a job." Okay, I get that, but personally, I have never met a writer who used the muse as an excuse not to write. At least not a real writer. I don't take my muse seriously... My muse is simply what I call getting into the zone. The inspired part of writing creatively. She is another part of me. Sometimes I get into the zone, other times I don't. When I am in the zone, the writing is easy and seems to flow... that is what I call my muse helping me. When I'm not, I still write, it's just more difficult. And something came up during these conversations... someone said, "anyone can be a writer."

So can anyone be a writer? I think this concept comes from a society that tells our children that they can be anything they want to be. Anything they set their mind to. There are people who believe that children are born blank. Clean slates. What is this? A leftover from Roussou? (sorry, I know I slaughtered his name, but am too lazy to go look it up) That children are born naturally good and the world corrupts them?

I don't buy it. Children are born with personalities. I know. I had two. Not enough for a clinical trial, but there you go. I do believe that environment helps to mold them.. for instance, fisher boy can be aggressive, defiant, and contentious. In a different, less stable home, he would probably be more of those things. In a more patient home, he might be less, but they would never completely go away, because that rebellious trait is a part of who he is. ( I know, he got it from his mommy:) genetics do play a part in who we are.

So, if we are all born with certain personality traits, it isn't a far stretch to believe we are all born with certain aptitudes. Of course, not everyone finds out what that aptitude is, but I think we all have them. Different types of intelligence. Different perceptions on our world. So can anyone be president? I don't think so. Being a polititian requires certain personality traits, such as intuition, a love of being with people all the time, and the ability to think quickly on your feet(okay, no GW jokes here! LOL) Not everyone has or can develop those traits... even if they wanted to. Now, I think desire goes a long ways, but I don't think desire alone can change someone into someting they are not.

So can anyone be a writer? I don't think so. What does it take to be a writer? Love of words, of course, the ability to be your own boss, the ability to self motivate, the ability to live with no guarantees, (a huge stumbling block for a lot of people) the ability to take rejection, the ability to be alone a good deal of the time and of course, the ability to write in a clear and cohesive manner. I actually think that the ability to communicate by writing is the easiest of those to learn if you wanted to be a writer. Set rules, guidelines, etc. The imagination to come up with a well thought out plot, is a different thing. Some people have little or no imaginations.

So, no, I don't think that just anyone can be a writer. Just like I could never be a mathmatician... even if I wanted to, which I don't.

What do you think? Can anyone be a writer?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hump Day (giggle)

Is the term hump day funny or am I just immature?

I've finished four things on my list and one of those was (drum roll please) finishing chapter three of Hot. My muse forgave me when she saw I was serious and came back to help. I admit that most of it is crap. But some of it is actually pretty good. One part, one line actually, was so good that I felt the heroine's reaction to the hero saying that line. I internalized it and tried to get down what I was feeling. Her physical reaction to hearing the line, what she would feel, pysically. Good stuff. Now I have to try to revise it and get it out to my CP's. Not easy because I have a gazillion nonfiction things to do.

Oh, I have teacher conferences this week for my highschooler. Um yeah. Never been. Never wanted to go. Since she and I go over homework all the time, I have a pretty good idea of how much she's learned. Should I tell them I really don't care about grades? I care about her education? Should I tell them she has never been to school, isn't much into acadamia and would far rather be doing something physical? Should I tell them I brought in a specialist when she was eleven and she was diagnosed with Dyslexia? Should I tell the Spanish teacher that 200 words in five weeks is too many and my daughter will never learn Spanish that way? Does the teacher care about her students learning Spanish or does she only care about getting through the packet? Should I tell them how I really feel about the currant state of public education? Um no, probably not. Once a rebel always a rebel.

At any rate, I am incredibly proud of her. She has never been to school. Never had a lab science class. Never had to rush from one classroom to the next or ask to go to the bathroom. Never had to juggle quite so much and she is doing it. She's always had a lot on her plate, but school is totally foreign to her. She's made some good friends, but really holds herself away from the drama. She had enough drama at the rink and thinks most of the kids in school are immature.

Can you tell I am proud of her?

Monday, October 16, 2006

This Week's To Do

I decided to call it this week's to do rather than Monday's to do because people thought I had all that stuff to do on Monday instead of giving myself the entire week. Not that this week isn't packed. I am on a mission to make more money this month than I ever have so I have a ton of things to do to make that happen. I am pretty packed. Plus I really, really want to get the HOT proposal off to my agent. I have been working on it forever. Really, how long does it take one writer to write three chapters?!

Without further ado... This week's to do

Do more research for Goodnites Round Up
Write Goodnites Round Up
Get expert source for Adoption Medicine
Get anecdotal source for Running Interference
Get expert source for Running Interference
Get anecdotal source for Breastfeeding Journal
Get expert sources for Breastfeeding Journal
Get expert sources for Fertility Journal
Get anecdotal Sources for Fertility Journal
Write Adoption Medicine
Finish chapter three in HOT
Revise chapter three HOT
Revise synopsis for HOT

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Muse is Mad at Me

Iv'e tried to talk to her on several occasions. She ignores me. Every page of chapter three of HOT is torture and I know why.

The past couple of weeks has been spent in a flurry of nonfiction madness. I finished four articles this week. Four. But I don't need my muse for nonfiction, so whenever I try to work on HOT she completely disdains me. I try to lure her back with promises of roses, chocolates, and undying devotion, but she no longer believes my promises.

She merely raises an eyebrow and turns her back on me. She has pronounced me fickle.

She obviously doesn't have a mortgage payment.

I should threaten her with Nano. That would get her back. Last time I did that we both worked overtime and she nearly went mad. But it did bring us closer together.

Oddly enough, I have never put it together that the more I write fiction the more comfortable and compliant she is. When I let other things get in the way, she goes on vacation.

So I am going to go plod away on this chapter without her. And we all know how difficult that is.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lost in Nonfiction World

I probably won't get to work on HOT at all this week. Since I posted Mondays to do list, I have received six article assignments, all but one due this month.

On a brighter note, I recieved my first check f0r fiction writing last night. The certificate and check for winning third place in the Pasic BOYH contest came yesterday. And the awesome thing about that is that my first check for nonfiction was seven years ago and you guessed it, it was $25 dollars too.

Must be a sign! Right?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Uber Mommies

Hi, My name is Teri and I am an uber Mommy.

Hi Teri

My Story:

I didn't know I was going to be an uber Mommy. When they placed that first little bundle into my arms I thought, "Oh my Gawd, Robin Williams is right. He does look like a little old man dipped in 30 weight."

I was bewildered, befuddled and bothered by young motherhood. I was bewildered cause I didn't know it was going to be so damn hard, befuddled from lack of sleep and bothered because no one had bothered to tell me what it was like. I was also bothered because five months into it and I was preggers again. I hadn't even gotten used to the first one, let alone another one!

The second time they handed me a little bundle I thought, "Oh my gawd, another one. I am never sleeping again."

I was right.

So there I was, a young mother much more prepared to be a hippie stoner chick than a mom.

Then it hit me. I was a mom. I had no idea how to be a mom because my own Mom is... kinda flaky. So I went to school to be a mom and enrolled in an early childhood education program at the local community college.

And that was just the beginning. From tactile games to acting out books, I spent every waking hour "developing" my kids. I read everything I could get my hands on concerning nutrition, development, and education. I chose to homeschool them. Each stage they were in had its corresponding books to read. I carted them to swimming lessons, gymnastic lessons, museums, fieldtrips, and minitrips. We went on picnics and nature walks so they would be attuned to nature, I bought them pets so they would be responsible, dress up clothes so they would be imaginative. I got them involved in sports so they would be fair and know how to work in a group. We threw parties so they wouldn't go party somewhere else.

I became an uber mother with an eye on the prize... two functioning responbsible adults who live outside my home, so I can enjoy a guilt free retirement.

I (pant) Am (gasp) Almost. (heave) There. (gulp)

Monday, October 09, 2006


I read once on a sign-Mondays are a horrible way to spend 1/7th of your life.

I think I'd have to disagree with that. Mondays are like the first day of school... A fresh start, almost like a do over. I used to love the first day of school... and I pretty much hated school. But the first day was a fresh start full of new possibilities. I always thought that this year would be different. This year, I would be pretty and popular and studious. I was a smart kid, but something about going and picking up office supplies always made me think that things would change. They never did. I was still the bright rebel who would skip school to go to the canyon to read and smoke. But the possibility for change existed and that was enough for me.

Mondays are like that for me now, only I really have changed and found all the things I was looking for (and NEVER found in school), purpose, self discipline, ambition, fulfillment. Because I love what I do for a living, I love getting started again. I know I can write on the weekends, but the publishing world doesn't, so I can't expect word from my agent or a new editor. (My regular editors often work on the weekends) I don't get any publishing news on the weekends and am usually so busy running around or spending the time with the family that I don't really get a lot of things crossed off my weekly lists. Opening up my computer on Monday mornings is like shopping for school supplies; it holds some promise of bright things to come. This week, I could hear from my agent. This week, I could get an interesting assignment. This week, I could land a fascinating writing job or find a new market. Even if it turns out to be fairly humdrum, that doesn't change the shiny freshness that is Monday.

Mondays to do list

Find anecdotal sources for Leukorrhea
Find Anecdotal sources of Exercise Baby
Finish chapter three on HOT
Call Angel Source and get interview
Get sources for Goodnites Round Up
Find Sources for Breastfeeding Journal
Find Sources for Fertility Journal
Write Angel Profile
Write Fertility Journal
Send proposal to agent
start preliminary plotting on FAT

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Starbucks Conversation

This post is dedicated to my dearest, bestest friend in the whole wide world. She knows who she is and will take this in the spirit in which it was intended.

Starbucks CEO: I'm sorry Mr Shareholder, but we won't be able to open the 40,000 new Starbucks around the world that we'd planned to open.

Mr. Shareholder: (worried) Why not? Is there a down turn in the market? Have people switched to drinking tea? Do you know how many people are depending on this?

Starbucks CEO: I know, but it turns out we are too successful. People think we should scale back, not be as successful. They have decided we are a monstrous octopus putting little neighborhood coffee places out of business.

Mr. Sharholder: (Confused) But isn't that how capitalism works? if you are successful you grow and if you aren't you go out of business? Didn't we start as a small neighborhood coffee shop in Seattle in 1971? Has the government decided to change? Put controls on how large a corporation should grow?

Starbucks CEO: No the government hasn't changed. And yeah, we did start out like all the other little corner coffee shops, and we grew because we were smart and savvy, but now that we're a giant corporation we're getting smacked for our success.

Mr. Shareholder: But haven't we done some great things with our success? Aren't we on Fortune Magazine's Best Companies to work for? Didn't we make the list of Best Corporate Citizens?

Starbucks CEO: Well, yes. And besides the hundreds of thousands of people we give jobs to, we have started numurous foundations for commmunity giving, including the Make Your Mark program where we match employees volunteer hours with money, Money for Parks and City Arts programs, the Ethos clean water program for third world countries, and countless other community programs. That doesn't include the support we are now giving to the coffee growing communities.

Mr. Shareholder: Then what's the problem? We're not only successful, but we give millions of dollars away to nonprofits and community programs. Can the little neighborhood coffee houses do that?

Starbucks CEO: No... I think they can only employ just a handful of employees. They do have floats in local parades though. We can't do that. We're too busy giving people a nice meeting place so they can get together to work, hold bible studies, have family talks, dicuss books and education and a gazillion other things and basically to hang out. Before we were around, going out to coffee meant Shari's or Denny's. And you know how good the coffee was there!

Mr. Sharholder: (Shuddering)Yeah. Plus, at those little coffee shops you never know if you are going to get a fantastic cup of coffee or the worst crap you've ever tasted. At least we have quality control. So why shouldn't we open 40,000 more stores? We are in business to make money, right? Isn't that what businesses are supposed to do?

Starbucks CEO: You're right. Free enterprize and all that. Viva Le Coffee!

Moving right along!

I polished up chapter two, which is now done and am working on chapter three. It's going pretty well, much better than two did. I would love to be able to work on this over the weekend and send it out next week, but mom is having a stint put in and I have to go babysit dad while she's in the hospital. So another 400 miles drive for moi. I'm taking the ice princess with me again as fisher boy has too much homework to do.

I wish I were going to Emerald City conference to meet and greet with friends and fellow authors. Now that would be a weekend to look forward to.

Must get an article done and pick up my glasses before I go. Yep, I'm old. I need glasses. They told me I was right on the borderline of needing bifocals, but I said no. I have heard of too many people's sight really getting messed up because of bifocals.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Looking for someone who is young, (under 45) active and deals with incontinence on a regular basis. Please contact me off list at diddymon@verizon.net if you know of someone who may be interested.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Alpha Male

Since I'm in the middle of a traditional romance, I have been giving a lot of thought to the Alpha male. My hero is a chef... but he can still be an alpha male, can't he? What makes up an alpha male? Strength? Intelligence? Height? Forcefulness? Decisivness? What other character attributes make up the kind of alpha male that make women crazy with desire and longing?

You see, I'm not married to an alpha male. My hubby is short and balding. In fact, he's been balding for as long as I've known him at age 24. He likes to say he didn't get any hair until he was 13 and started losing it at 17. My male is funny. And silly. Likes to make up crude little jingles. He's very emotional and gets teary eyed over sappy commercials. He's more of a little banty rooster, all crow and no bite. He does have some awesome character traits, though. His absolute devotion to his family. An incredible work ethic. (My male does ALL the laundry, for crying out loud!) My car always runs, the bills are always paid, the refrigerator always full of food, (Yes, he does 95% of the grocery shopping, too) the wood shed always full by fall, the animals always healthy because he puts on their flea medicine, makes their vet appointments, etc. He makes my coffee every night so it's hot and fresh when I wake up in the morning. Plus, he works fifty to sixty hours a week. And fishes with his son, goes to the mall to shop with his daughter and takes me out for starbucks or drinks. And yes, he makes me tired. And no, you can't have him.

But he's definitely not an alpha male. I am too much of an alpha female to be really happy with a in your face, forceful kind of guy. (Though my hubby is sort of in your face... he is very hyper!)So my heros end up being a bit blah... because in my mind a real hero is the guy who sticks around for the not so happily ever after part. It's what they do after the sun sets.

So what kind of character attributes is an alpha male supposed to have? Who is your favorite alpha male?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's the Difference?

Between a writer who will make it and a writer who won't?

I've thought about that a lot lately because I heard from an old cyber friend who hasn't made it. I haven't spoken to her in years, but she was one of my first writer friends in the business. I heard from another friend several months ago who was my first writing mentor many years ago. These women haven't made it. Haven't gone any further in their writing than when I first knew them. Why?

I am defining someone who has made it as someone who has achieved financial goals. (very narrow, I know, but this is nonfiction) For instance, I wanted to make a decent living writing part time. I've done that and consider myself a success even though it takes full time writing to make a part time wage But this is mostly because I work on fiction part time, as well, and I haven't sold a book yet which would add considerably to my yearly income.

I have two other dear, long term cyber friends. Both wanted to be full time freelance writers. One kind of fell by the wayside and chose a different direction. Very talented woman, but something about a freelancer's life didn't agree with her, so she zigged when she could have zagged. My other writer friend quit her job and within a year was making more money a month than she ever had working.

What's the difference between those who make it and those who don't? I've been writing professionally for about seven years now and have seen a lot of writers come and go. I have also seen those who keep at it and end up making it. Why did I "make it?" I have very little formal education and have faced tons of adversity, including a husband who was less than enthusiastic at the beginning. Now, every writer is different, but there are a few common attributes in writers who have made it.

  • Desire. A burning desire. These people don't just want to see their own book or article, they want to write. To see their words develop on the page and then see the finished product with their name on it.
  • Stubborness. As in teeth gritted, knock me down and I'll get up EVERY DAMN TIME kind of stubborness. Blind, irrational, hard headedness.
  • Willingness to learn and diversify. Learning is hard. But in order to make it in this business you have to continue to learn and strive. You also have to be willing to diversify. My one friend who is making so much money has diversified. She is editing, writing for trade magazines and writing books.
  • Know your limitations. I would never be able to work as a copy writer because it would bore me to tears. I can write on many topics, but don't ask me to do technical writing. I could never write science fiction either. Don't go down a road you know you really don't want to go down. It will show in your work.
  • A thick skin. I am working on this. I whine and moan on occasion. But I don't let the rejections or disappointments stop me. See above on stubborness and desire.

What other attributes do you see in writers who have made it?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Writing Rules and Regulations

I've been thinking of writing's rules and regulations a lot. Maybe because of my backstory problems with HOT. I've read somewhere (And I can't remember where) That one thing the RWA has done a good job at is spreading the rules of writing so well that editors are getting perfectly done books with no life to them. Now, they don't spread these rules themselves, but the local chapters where workshops are held, critique groups are formed, etc, have done a good job at getting the rules out.

Don't get me wrong... I love my Cp's. They are fabulous. But we do seem pretty hung up on the rules of writing. Let's take backstory first. This is one of those rules that every critique group knows about. Backstory, even a couple of paragraphs, slows the pacing down. Where is it written that stories have to shoot out of a cannon and not slow until the bang up finish? Whatever happpened to the slow build up of a book? I just reread Scruples by Judith Krantz. This was her first book, or her first blockbuster at least, and I have reread it so many times I've memorized parts of it. Almost EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER INTRODUCED has backstory. Fascinating, interesting, backstory. Even if the character is minor to the book.

Then there is POV. A one sentence POV shift, one that reveals more about the characters or story, is caught and reviled. But Nora Roberts does it all the time. Even in a single scene, the headhopping can make my own head spin. Now, I understand, Nora can get away with stuff others can't, but oftentimes, she makes it work.

Adverbs. I have taken to noting adverbs when I read, probably because they are such, gasp, no no's. Almost every book I have ever read has an -ly word at some point. I did read one romance that had so many it was frustrating, but that was also paired with stiff dialog and clunky prose. Maddening. But if we're supposed to write tight and an -ly word can take the place of an eight word description... what's the harm? Over use? Yeah. I can see that. But sometimes, it seems to me that an -ly word is the best word for the job.

Distancing with a "he asked himself" Okay, the idea when you are in deep POV is that the internals don't need to be underlines because they are pretty much always internals right? (If I'm wrong here please let me know) But tons of books use this on occasion. Sometimes it does seem right.

Never, if ever, use the word was. It's passive. I can't tell you the literary acrobatics I've done to keep from using was in a sentence. Again, this is a word I see all over other books. Do they not know you aren't supposed to use was? Am I taking these rules to literally?

Again, I am posting the disclaimer... this has nothing to do with my own Cp's who are very astute and usually right on the money. I do the same thing when I judge for contests. But are we doing the world a favor by maintaining such strict writing rules and regulations? Or was we paving the way for a bunch of books that are written strangely alike?

Another disclaimer, I am as yet unpublished... maybe there's a reason for that:)