writing / editing

Making New Habits

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Owen (the dog), writing / editing

Everyone knows how difficult it can be to break bad habits. Smoking, over-eating, cracking your knuckles (not that I would EVER have a problem with cracking my knuckles…) can take more effort than some people are willing to give. And slipping up makes it even harder to keep at it. One night of binging can undo all the momentum you had to eat healthy and you figure “what’s the point?”

Well, as I’m sure most of you know, it’s just as difficult to create NEW habits, especially if the habit takes up time that is currently occupied by something else. I’m completely addicted to Bejeweled Blitz, and I need to cut back on my playing time if I ever plan to write my book. I’ll open the app, telling myself I’ll just play a few games, and before I know it an entire HOUR has passed. Not a good use of my time. I’m also trying to exercise more, which is conflicting with the whole trying-to-write thing.

Even my dog Owen is working against me. Look at him staring at me while I’m writing this post.

Mama, why aren't you playing with me?

Mama, why aren’t you playing with me?

Yes, I know. Boo-hoo for me. What I’m trying to say is I need a way to keep myself on track. I used to log my exercise in a calendar but stopped when I took a boot camp class over the winter, but it was a great way for me to see my progress. My friend Jason shared an article called Time Management Tricks for the Time-Impaired Writer which suggests using an Excel spreadsheet to log daily word counts. This certainly doesn’t work for everyone, but I think it might be what I need to do if I ever want to reach my goal.

Heck, maybe I’ll do one spreadsheet that includes writing AND exercise.

What techniques do you use to keep yourself on track for your goals?

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The Sequel

Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 in Flicker, Fracture, writing / editing

It’s official, I’m writing the sequel to FLICKER. I’ve had the idea for over a year and while I could give you the list of excuses why I hadn’t started (bought a house, got married, was trying to juggle two jobs) all those are in the past and I’ve finally begun! There’s more Biz, more Cameron, more flickering — plus a few surprises I’m keeping quiet for now.

Here’s the opening line:

Before last month I never gave much thought to my school’s no-hats-allowed policy, but all that changed when Ramirez shaved my head.

Thoughts?

I’ve also done a TON on the house and have a lot of pictures to share, so my plan it to get back to this blogging thing, even if I’m only talking to myself. (Although I’d really love it if you’d leave a comment. Now that I’m off my meds I need little things like your validation to make sure I haven’t completely gone insane.)

I’m planning a website overhaul, so while the links will stay the same, it’ll be a whole new Hoo playground. Oh, and to answer a question several people have asked me: just because I got married and changed my last name to Swiftney, I will always be Hoo. I’m keeping Hooyenga as my writing name so as far as you all are concerned nothing has changed!

Have a great week!

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Action and Reaction

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in Hooville, publishing industry, writing / editing

I have two separate but exciting things to share today. First the reaction:

Store Card Keychain

I saw this idea on Pinterest and put it to use! I punched a hole in all my store member cards and put them on a key ring. Now I can keep them in nether regions of my purse, rather than in my wallet.

Now the action!

Right now you can enter to win one of three copies of FLICKER on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flicker by Melanie Hooyenga

Flicker

by Melanie Hooyenga

Giveaway ends November 13, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


It’s set to be released next week Tuesday (November 13, 2012) and that’s the day the winners will be chosen. Go forth, enter, and share por favor!

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The Next Big Thing

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in writing / editing

Thank you to my bestie Stacey for tagging me in the Next Big Thing meme, allowing me to officially announce that I’m self-publishing my novel! I’m two shakes from finishing the formatting, then I’m shipping it off to my awesome partner Natasha at eBook Artisans, then it will hit the virtual bookshelves!

(I also have an author page on Facebook. Please click the link, Like it, and tell your friends!)

What is the working title of your book?
Flicker

Where did the idea come from for the book?
You know how when you’re driving down a road with a lot of trees and the sun filters through, causing a strobe-like effect? Well it really messes with my head, to the point that I need to shield my eyes so I don’t completely wig out. Towards the end of 2009 I was driving to visit my grandmother in the hospital and the light — to steal a line from my book — “did its thing”, and the idea struck for a character who is affected by the flickering light and it makes her travel back to yesterday.

I’ve since learned that my gramma is affected the same way I am, so that makes it doubly cool that she was part of the inspiration.

What genre does your book fall under?
Young adult. Technically it’s paranormal because of the time-travel element, but aside from that everything in the book is “normal.”

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh my gosh, this is the most impossible question for me. I try really hard not to describe my characters’ physically because I want readers to form their own opinion. Putting an actor to them would totally undo that.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Seventeen-year old Biz uses sunlight to flicker back to yesterday.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am self-publishing. I have a business designing covers for writers who self-publish, so it’s been fun sitting on the client-side of the computer. Which is still the same side, but you know what I mean…

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Two months. I wrote it for NaNo 2010, but because I was working full time knew I probably wouldn’t complete it in 30 days. I finished the first draft on January 1st, 2011. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time editing with the help of NUMEROUS beta readers.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Lisa McMann’s WAKE trilogy has a lot of similarities. I’d never heard of them until I told a fellow writer my idea (prior to writing) and she said it sounded similar to McMann’s. I’ve since devoured the series and worked very hard to make sure there aren’t too many similarities. In plotting out the trilogy (that’s right, there will be more) I had to decide what Biz will do in the next books, and the first thing I did was eliminate the idea of using her ability to work with the police, since that’s what happens in WAKE.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
See the question about where I got the idea. I will say I had a lot of inspiration to make this book better from my fellow writers, especially Erica Chapman. She pushed and pushed and pushed me not to settle with an okay story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 
A side effect of flickering is excruciating migraines. As a sufferer myself, I was able to include a lot of details that fellow migrainees will recognize. That may not seem interesting to everyone, but I enjoyed hiding details throughout the story that only some people may catch.

Oh, and there’s a really hot boy.

*****

Now I’m supposed to tag five writers, but I’m so pitifully out of touch with my blogging buddies that I feel bad adding work to anyone’s schedule. Instead, please answer the Next Big Thing questions if you are so inclined and please share the link in the comments.

Rules of The Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

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Even Hockey Needs an Editor

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in friends & family, writing / editing

This past Saturday my grandmother and I helped my mom celebrate her birthday at the Red Wings game in downtown Detroit. This is the inaugural year for the Winnipeg Jets, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers. The original Winnipeg Jets moved Phoenix and became the Coyotes in 1996, but the new Jets team has been welcomed with open arms by everyone except Detroit, who beat them 7-1. (This has nothing to do with my point, I just think it’s interesting.)

Woopysee daisy

Photo courtesy of detnews.com

With eight goals scored it would be an understatement to say it was an action-packed game, but what got our attention even more than the goals was how slippery the ice seemed to be. I’m sure you’re thinking, Duh, it’s ice. Of course it’s slippery, but no one seemed to tell the players. They were falling all over each other—tripping over teammates, slipping in the middle of the ice when no one else was near, and my favorite, toppling headfirst onto the ice while trying to start a shift. Falling is a part of hockey, but it was borderline absurd how often the players bit it.

The next morning I watched the game highlights on the news, eager to see the clumsiness repeated, but all they showed were the goals. Not a single stumble made the cut. At first I was disappointed, but that’s when it struck me that sometimes the parts that make you laugh the most don’t progress the story. They’re just bits of fluff that—while hilarious—have no place in the final draft.

A good reminder for me as I head into my own edits.

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