website change- going up a level

I have transferred my blog from to my own domain name, hosting and using  I also fiddled around with a new theme and I’m learning about what serious bloggers do.  I feel like an astronaut cutting off her tether and using a jetpack for the first time, hoping that I don’t hurtle off into deep space and run out of oxygen.

Books I’m reading:

Teach Yourself Visually WordPress by Janet Majure (ok, little too graphically busy)

Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall (amazing!  highly recommended)


You can now find me at:

Rewriting Process

<whine> Rewriting is haaaaarrrd! </end whine>

For me, rewriting is the hardest part of the writing process.  This is why I have so many first drafts and very few finished products! When I’m writing,  I’m  not judging or worrying about being published, especially when I’m doing the NaNoWriMo challenge.  It’s all about creating and letting my imagination loose.  Rewriting, on the other hand, is about looking over what I’ve created and trying to make it publishable.  I am finding a lot of resistance to the process, I think my subconscious thinks that if I never finish, I will never be rejected.  I’m fighting low self esteem, fear of failure, despair, frustration and self-sabotage.  No wonder I keep finding myself procrastinating and distracted during my writing time!

My writing is brief and spare.  The first step in rewriting a draft is to plump it up.  I have the 50K seed from doing NaNoWriMo.  Most publishers want manuscripts from 80-100k for fantasy/sci-fi.  I’m studying the works of Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss and Robert Jordan to learn the ways of being wordy.  I can’t and shouldn’t change my style, which is more like Douglas Adams, but I can get ideas.

The next step is to look at the work as a whole and examine the plot, characters and story arc.  Does it work?  Does the main character have enough conflict and change by the end of the story?  Does she solve her problems or do they just fade away?  Are there things that don’t make sense?  Are there boring bits that need to be cut?

Then we go to line editing.  Spelling.  Grammar.  Using concrete verbs and active voice.

Finally, a last re-read and tweaking of this and that.

In this process, it’s good to have a trusted reader who can tell you their honest opinion.  Don’t pick someone who will say either “it’s nice” or “eh, it didn’t work for me”.  Neither one is helpful.

Then, send it in to a publisher or editor, and start another project immediately.

That makes it look easy.  But what if you do all that and never get published?  Sigh.  Following my new motto- “do it anyway.”



Out of the box


We made a cardboard box train for my son’s birthday party. My daughter eagerly helped, and even pushed the train around the house with three small passengers inside.  I think the cardboard box is a perfect symbol for imagination.  Didn’t everyone play with a box at some point in their childhood?

I found a wonderful blog post on many different cardboard creations:

Tip Junkie/ 32 things to make with a cardboard box

If you are stuck on a creative project, take a moment to look at it with a sense of imagination.  What else could it be?  How could it be played with?  How can I make it more fun or interesting?  Make something out of nothing and try to see from a child’s eyes.

train front

Ravelry review

This week I investigated Ravelry.  This is an online social network for knitters and crocheters (is that a word? it doesn’t look right- people who crochet, let me know what the right term is!).  It’s also a way of organizing your yarn hobby.  You can make an inventory of your yarn, make a queue of projects you would like to do and keep track of the patterns you have.

The social aspect of the site is impressive as well, though I have yet to dip my toe in.  There are groups you can join, you can show off pictures of your projects, comment on other people’s projects and participate in forums.  You can search thousands of patterns, some free for download, others for sale, and even more out of pattern books.  I found a great pattern for a dragon that was in a library book, one I would not have taken out from the cover.

So far I am very impressed by their site.  They have a help page that includes a video introduction to the site and mini lessons in doing different things.  You do have to sign up to use the site, but there is no charge for use.  If you are a pattern designer, I think you can sell your patterns on this site- please check with the site to confirm.  I am encouraged and inspired to knit more after exploring Ravelry.  I just finished a hat for my son and now I’m challenging myself with a project I’ve never done before, using fine yarn instead of my usual thick acrylic.

Music is for Muses, strangely enough

A lot of people use music as a way of setting mood, sparking imagination, and helping them create.  Gamers play movie soundtracks while they run tabletop roleplaying adventures.  Artists, crafters and writers have playlists of just the right music.  I have playlists for stories I’m working on, as well as workout playlists, playlists for friends, playlists for thinking, playlists for cleaning. I even have playlists for being angry.

I would sometimes work on selecting just the  right song in the right order for my writing, then berate myself for “wasting time” when I should be creating.  Hello!  Selecting songs to make playlists is creative, albeit derivative.  It is like being a music director for a play or movie.  The wrong song can change everything- make a comedy out of horror, or horror out of comedy.  I made a creative project picking everyone’s theme song- what song represented them to me.  It was fun and definitely creative.  I also pick out “songs of the day” and theme songs of the moment.

If you are writing, crafting or otherwise making art, take some time to think about what songs are playing while you work, if any.  Some people like silence, or nature sounds.  If you are playing music, think about the tempo, whether there are lyrics or it’s instrumental, and what genre of music.  Are you writing a medieval fantasy and playing heavy metal?  That’s going to effect what you create.

I like to have songs playing that have deep meaning to me in the lyrics when I’m coming up with ideas, and instrumental soundtrack music when I’m writing scenes.  I like folk songs when I’m writing epic fantasy and pop when I’m writing urban fantasy.

Creativity planning

Every January I get out my notebook and write out my goals.  I keep most of my notebooks and flipping back through them for years upon years, it was the same thing with some slight variation:

  • lose weight
  • get published
  • improve work/life balance and take care of my family
Sooooo, let’s just take that as a given, right?  Do I even need to write that down?  Yes.  yes I do.  It’s reaffirming the direction I want to go.  But it does not help me get there.  A plan is much more useful.  How do I lose weight? What do I need to do to get published?  Setting out actions to take and scheduling to do them, daily, is the best way to get those goals.
This year I want to get out of that 3 goal rut.  I’ve been charging along with my head down for a while.  I need to create, learn and grow.  I need to nurture my inner artist, taking the time to play and enjoy life.
What I want to do in 2012 (the year of the Dragon!) Brainstorm
  • develop Jane’s Folly – blog at least weekly, if not more
  • learn about Twitter
  • revise a manuscript for publication and send it out
  • read a lot of books about creativity, writing and motivation
  • take “artist dates”
  • take classes?
  • go to conferences about writing, gaming and my profession
  • make connections with friends and other creative people
  • start drawing and painting again
  • make a zine of my friend’s work?
  • make family videos
  • collaborate on a project
  • find ways to be creative at work- kids crafts, programs, displays
  • knit, sew and craft
This may seem overwhelming, or not enough.  To me, it is both!  The next step is time management.  I’m a mom of 2 with a full time job.  When will I do this stuff?  I need to schedule it.  Write in my calendar- or  something else will take its place.  I’m currently listening to the audiobook “Time Management From the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, and I recommend  it.
So, go ahead, make your list.  What creative, nurturing things will you do this year that will help you grow as a person?

Graham Cracker Houses

If you want to do something like gingerbread houses for a large group of kids, or just your own, a graham cracker house skips all the baking and gets to the fun part, the decorating with candy.

First, start with a cardboard base- I recommend thin cardboard from gift boxes- shirt boxes are just the right size for the template I use.  I created the template using a graham cracker as a measure for the long sides and roof, with half a graham cracker for the short sides.

Use your scissors to crease the folds, then tape the house together.  Regular tape will work, packing tape is better.

Plan ahead- for each house you will need at least 6 graham crackers.  For the group you will need cans of frosting, squeeze tubes of frosting, an assortment of candy, dinner knives for spreading, bowls and plates for keeping supplies organized, and some napkins for clean-up.

Some good things to get- pull and peel Twizzlers, Fruit Loops, Smarties, and gum drops.

Now assemble your house- use the frosting like spackle and paste on the walls and roof.  Snap a graham cracker in half to do the short sides.  There will be a uncovered portion- allow your artist to choose how to fill it in, either with broken graham crackers or some kind of frosting and candy combination.

Step back and let your artists amaze you with their creativity!