Thoughts on LTUE 2106

It’s been nine years now since I discovered this little gem of a writing conference, and I haven’t missed it since. It’s an amazing deal and so much fun… even if I can’t seem to get my writing (or bookish) friends to go with me!

My writing resolve has suffered pretty much since I wrote the enthusiastic post about how great I was going to do this year. I’ve been feeling guilty ever since. I was hoping this conference would kick start the enthusiasm, but so far, it hasn’t.

Not to say it wasn’t great, because it was. Just to say that I’m not feeling the writing thing at the moment and that makes me all sorts of crazy sad.

Anyway, here are a few highlights from the event:


  • watching two hours straight of six episodes of Writing Excuses. I got tired sitting there, but my brain was engaged the whole time. Subjects they talked about: fashion in writing, the question of wonder, environment in writing, self-publishing, how to get the great ideas, and etc. It was awesome all around.
  • Shannon Hale’s keynote speech about gender bias when it comes to books and reading and how boys should have the choice to read and like any book, the same as girls do. It was passionate and powerful.
  • Kevin J. Andersen’s keynote speech about how it’s important to just jump right in and get your hands in all sorts of projects. I loved the stories he told about his friendship with the band Rush and how he wrote many of his books inspired by their music. So awesome.
  • I tend to enjoy the one person presentations over the panels. I went to presentations about tips on productivity, how to write horror, techniques to show more and tell less. I feel like in presentations I take a ton of notes whereas in panels I just listen and absorb.
  • some stuff I starred: come up with a sentence memorable elevator pitch hook, think of an event and go back ten steps answering “why” and go forward ten steps answering “what if,” all writing is telling but we need to show by giving the reader triggers to feel stuff, cliches work if you do them right….
  • the program was printed wrong which made me miss the panel on finding your tribe, which is something I really need to do. So that made me sad. I was hoping they’d say something really enlightening that I hadn’t thought of that would make all the difference.
And a few pictures:
Brandon Sanderson, Lee Modesitt, and Mary Robinette Kowal


Dan Wells and Howard Taylor


Shannon Hale


Kevin J. Anderson


Learning about the future.
Anyway, it was a great time as usual and I look forward to next year already!

New Year’s Writing Goals 2016



It’s a new year and I have goals! The writing kind!

  • First of all, writing needs to become a priority. I have so many things I like to do with my day and I try to spread them out and make them all fit. Writing seems to take a back seat. No more.
  • I’m starting to get feedback from my beta readers for my first ever finished story! So now it’s time to make changes to that one using all this feedback.
  • I want to finish and revise the recent Nano book (unnamed space opera) and start getting feedback for it.
  • Which means the other book (the book of letters) will still have to wait it’s turn for some attention.
  • I want to start researching agents and the like. Freaky! Which means maybe NEXT year I’ll be ready to query and pitch. Maybe.
  • I have registered for both LTUE and Storymakers again this year. Not sure if I’ll fit in more conferences, but it would be nice if it happens.
  • I hope to keep the online writing group going. And if that doesn’t work.. find a real, in life serious writing group. Sigh.
  • Keep going to UVW when I can. Renew membership in March.

I’d love to know what writing goals you have!


NaNoWriMo Final Updates


Just in case you’re following along, here’s my week three report. And wow, that week flew by, did it not? I did have a couple of bad days this past week, writing-wise, just as I expected, though even then I managed a couple hundred words just so I could update the page and say that I’ve haven’t actually missed a day! Even that’s a pretty crazy goal and accomplishment really.

So, I loved my story up until Thursday/Friday and then BAM, I hit a wall. You know all the feelings… why am I doing this… this is crap… what a lot of time to waste doing something that will go nowhere… I don’t know what to write next… it’s terrible so why try…blah blah blah. I hate it when that happens. But then Saturday things picked up again, I got over the little hump of “what happens next” even though the story is going its own direction and I’m just hanging on for the ride. I wish I was more imaginative than I am so I could truly figure things out but who knows. Maybe something cool will happen.

My story has three distinct parts… and I’ve just crossed over into the third part. While that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m nearing the end, it feels like things are going to start getting crazy in anticipation for that climatic moment (assuming I can write myself there) which makes me excited. I’m frustrated because I keep thinking of things I need to go back and change, or add or fix or delete, but that’s not what Nano is about, so there’s a huge list that’s started and hopefully I can remember what/how/who/when I need to make those changes.

I was pondering sharing an excerpt but I’m vetoing everything. Instead, I thought I’d share a list of some of my characters names. A few of them have been nameless until today and I’m excited that they finally have names! So I give you, my characters:


Speaking of characters, one thing that happened this week, I started reading last year’s Nano story, which I haven’t looked at for pretty much a whole year. And I’m dying to work on it again! And revive those characters! And actually finish it and polish it and see what someone other than me, thinks of it. So that’ll be the project starting just as soon as Nano ends. I wonder if I can revise two stories at the same time. Or three even.

Well anyway, as of the beginning of today, I’m at about 42,000 words. One week to get 8000 more. I can totally do this, despite Thanksgiving!

How about you? Feeling strong? Pushing on to the end? Giving up? Wondering what the heck is happening to your story?

Isn’t Nano so much fun!?!



Actually, I got to my 50,000 words last Tuesday! So I made my goal of finishing before Thanksgiving, which is always helpful since my attention needs to be so many other places then.  And I haven’t looked at my story since I declared myself a winner… and I must say, I’ve been missing it. Dying to know what happens next!! Because no, it is far from finished.

But I’m also frustrated with all the stuff I skimmed over and left out and forgot. All the stuff I meant to do! So here’s hoping I can keep up the everyday writing habit (once this crazy weekend is over!) and finish, then fix this story.

I want to be brave enough to share an excerpt with you… let’s see…how about this dance moment:

He smiles and brings her close. In her ear he whispers, “I’m watching you.” Then he spins her away and hands her off to the next guy. Her head explodes and the dreaded dizziness descends on her again. Her feet tangle up, twisted into each other. She stumbles. But hands grab her and keep her spinning and spinning and spinning from person to person to person. How long does this crazy dance last? She’s not sure she can make it much longer and keep her dinner down.
And then, the music changes again. Slows, clears, shifts. She is handed off one last time, to someone who keeps her and holds her, steady and sure against him. She knows without looking that somehow Khol has found her in that frenzy of spinning bodies. She lays her face against his chest. It’s damp and heaving, so she knows he too has been out here dancing, this whole time. Her arms come up and around his waist. She refuses to move again for now. Maybe forever. If this dance is a throw-a-girl-around-dance, she won’t play. But his arms hold her tight, his hands press hot through the thin material of her shirt. It appears they are staying put for at least one song’s worth. They barely move to the music. She closes her eyes and tries to catch her breath and dispel the spinning in her head. The movement of his chest calms her. Their breathing slows, bit by bit, and syncs together. Now, this, this she could do forever. 

The first he and the second he are two different he’s in guess that’s not clear from this bit! And yeah, it appears there’s a dance of some sort in every story I write. Or several dances for that matter. There’s just something about dancing, is there not? 🙂

Anyway, so there you go. Nano 2015 is a wrap! I can’t believe it’s over already! And now here’s to another year of revising!

NaNoWriMo 2015 is Half Over!


Thoughts on Week One:

One week down, three to go! It’s been a fun week of writing. It started out slow and I felt my story was so so boring, trying to establish character and setting and all that, but the past three days of writing it feels like it has really picked up. I feel excited to go where I think (’cause you never really know!) it’s going and I can’t wait to get there! This is the adrenaline of Nano that I keep talking about, the addictive nature of it. That feeling of anticipation to see if what’s in your head pans out. And how.

I’ve had a few new thoughts about my story after starting that I’m excited… well nervous… about too. I think this time around I’m being much braver, and that’s such a good thing I’m noticing! I don’t know, I guess we’ll see.

So, after a week I’m at 15,805 words, which is a little head of the game. That’s because I know there will be crazy non-writing days to come and I really want to be ahead when those hit! I haven’t written anything yet today, so here’s hoping by the end of today we’ll be about 2000 more, which seems to be my daily average-ish. Only today might turn out to be one of those crazy days before it’s over.

What I’m loving so far about this current writing experience:

  • writing in present tense. I feel more… um… present! 🙂
  • having my characters be different, like not exactly what we’d expect to see here in this world.
  • having the world be different, though sometimes that’s hard because my imagination is crap
  • having a better idea of where this is going, and that’s only because it’s a retelling so I have the outline of the original story to go by!
  • having my sister participating with me fairly consistently. We chat while writing and moan and worry and sprint and bounce ideas around. It’s lovely. Here’s hoping she stays with me for yet another week! And another. And another.
  • having my family “get it” a little better this time around because they’ve actually seen a printed up visual of the story from two years ago. I think that makes a huge difference, to actually see that… oh, cool…you really WERE writing something!
  • figuring out a music playlist as I go. Why is that so much fun?
  • having so many published authors, and favorite authors participating. I know they have in the past, but it seems more this time. Anyway, to compare my daily word count with Brandon Sanderson’s (so far about the same!) makes me smile. (To have him working on Stormlight 3 makes me smile even bigger.)
  • feeling a little braver and a little less restrained in the writing and truly noticing an improvement. This is the best thing of all. Here’s hoping it’s not all in my <crappy> imagination!
I can’t wait to keep going! Are you writing? How did your first week go? Are you still excited about your story? Let me know!!
Thoughts on Week Two:

Another week down! Everyone says we should be feeling sluggish and bugged and frustrated with our stories about now. And while I’m having moments of those things, for the most part, I’m feeling really good about my story. Today, I managed over 3000 more words, which bumped me over 30,000 total. That number looks so cool! 🙂

I remember being worried about having enough time this past week for writing and it turned out not too bad. But believe me, this coming week is going to be horrendous! That’s why this weekend I want to double up to get a good big pile of words so that if I have some completely no writing days, it won’t totally kill the groove.

Some highlights of the writing week:

  • killing off a character, which, while exciting in theory, turned out to be a bit anti climatic in the story. Note to self: revise this bit later!
  •  having lots and lots of sprints with Megs which really ups the word count! They are scary in a sense and awesome in a sense. Try it, you’ll like it!
  • some pretty good swoony scenes, but alas.. with the wrong guy! Things will be shaking up this week!
  • stuff that has come up that I really need to figure out and learn more about: weapons, boxing, secondary characters names and attributes, the layout of space ships, more detail in the back stories, more detail in the level of technology this world has
  •  I decided that perhaps I’m creating world that I can call “steampunk space.” I have no idea what that means, but I like the sound of it.

Well, at this point, half way in, I’m happy to say, I’m still having fun! How about the rest of you Nano-ers??


Looking Back and Looking Forward

Indian Summer Manuscripts


It’s somehow poetic that I’m getting my first manuscript ready to send out to beta readers on the day before Nano, exactly two years before I starting writing it for my very first Nano. You’d think I’d be excited. But no. I’m feeling rather anxious and sick to my stomach instead. Both about sending this story out, and about starting another brand new story that I’m afraid might totally be beyond my ability.

Here’s to nothing!

Writing is Freaking Hard but Conferences are Freaking Fun!

The other day I went to a one-day writing conference. This one sponsored by the less than a year old United Authors Association (UAA.) This was their very first conference and those in charge did a fine and fabulous job! I was extremely impressed and loved every minute of it.

Also, it didn’t hurt that I’d brought my friend Jayne along. She’s just jumping into the writing adventure with her first attempt at Nano coming up this week. She saw the ads for this UAA conference and actually said to me, “Hey, let’s go!” I was thrilled!

We went to six presentations, all of them wonderful. But the one that left me feeling most concerned, to put it mildly, was Julie Daines‘ class on showing and not telling (or why writing is freaking hard!) This is obviously where I have the most trouble. She actually critiqued a chapter of mine a few months ago at UVW meeting and her comments have helped me a ton in my revising of late. So I wanted to go to her class to get it all solidified and to hear it all again.

Everything was great except for these two statements:

“Never name an emotion.”

“Only use two visceral actions per chapter.”

You see, I’m afraid I can’t do this! These two statements make me feel like this writing thing is impossible and not for me! And I totally GET what these statements are saying, but I just don’t know HOW to do it! I guess, it’s all about practice and I’m determined to discover the secret that is writing without telling AND without showing using visceral actions. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I will figure out the whole metaphor secret one day too.

Other classes I enjoyed:

John Brown‘s story structure presentation where we plotted out the points and parts of a story in a new way that made it so clear and easy to grasp.

Callie Stoker‘s thoughts on the differences between plotting and pantsing. And even if you pants, what sort of things does one need to know before writing? (She insisted that you need to know the end even if you’re pantsing and I was like.. really?) She listed out all the different ways you can approach plotting and there are many.

Jordan McCollum‘s class on POV and voice. I’m starting to worry that I have one voice and one voice only. Here’s hoping I can find some more for all the stories in my head.

Charlie Holmberg‘s presentation on world building. I don’t usually think I’m the sort that enjoys this, but the book I want to write for Nano coming up in a week requires some (a lot) of world building, so this class was a great kick start for all the things I need to think up. But it overwhelmed me and makes my head spin.

And finally, Ali Cross talked to us about fight scenes. I hope to have a few in this Nano book too. We’ll see if I learned anything from Ali, yes?

Anyway. Fun stuff are these conferences. I was glad one popped up this month because I’ve been having withdrawals. Can’t wait for the new year when they all seem to start happening again!


Hello, My Name Is


When I created my online presence back nearly ten years ago, I decided to use my nickname: Suey. Over the years, it’s become a part of me like I would have never imagined. I thought this nickname was dumb and degrading back when my college roommates dubbed me with it, but I’ve become so used to it now that I don’t even think about it.

The problem now is that if I want to market or brand myself as a writer/author, and maybe even become published one day, I should probably ditch the cutesy nickname. And this is almost as hard, if not harder, than embracing the nickname was years ago. This site is my attempt at working on that project and showing the world, the writing world specifically, who I really am.

But if you see me out and about as Suey, now you’ll know what’s up and that I’ll answer by that name too.

Revising is Hard

This past week I’ve been concentrating on revising. It’s hard! I makes me want to bang my head on my desk! It makes me tired! Every time I sit down to revise some more I suddenly feel the urge to take a nap.

But when I finally do sit down and actually start working on things, here’s what I’m thinking:

*tightening things up, think of your story like a tightrope… if it sags, the bookmark goes in and the reader stops.
* limit descriptions, use only when necessary
* use only the most essential scenes.. only the ones that push you to the climax
* eliminate redundancy… say it clearly and then move on
* use precise verbs… walking vs. sauntering for example
* write with active voice… get rid of all the WAS words
* think of chapter endings that tempt the reader to keep reading

Showing vs. Telling!
* get rid of these words: see, hear, feel, know, remember, think, is/was, wonder, thought, look, saw, imagine, guess. They are all telling words not showing words.

Oh, the other thing I’ve been doing a lot of… getting read of lots of saids… and just using body language and action instead. I forget what’s that called, but it has a name. I can’t even tell you how many places I have where this is needing to be fixed!

Nano 2015 Here I Come

I know it’s only September but already I’m thinking about what I want to write come November. Do I want to outline this time around? Do I want to pants it again? Do I want to write that space opera that’s in my head? The one with absolutely no plot?

If so, it’s time NOW to start thinking! And planning and plotting and researching!

Are you working on your Nano plans already? How’s it going?