Sunday, August 18, 2013

K's Strange Intuition

My son, K, was in the car with my husband one day when he said, “Daddy, what happens to your stuff after you die?” He was just staring out the window when he said it.

My husband told him that the family divides it up.

K says, “But how do they know who gets what?”

My husband, “The family figures that out. Why? Do you feel like one of us is going to die? Me? Mommy? Your brother?”

He said, “No. It’s just something that popped in my head.”

My husband calls this one of K’s Children of the Corn moments. It always creeps him out when K says stuff like that.

On the same day, I heard K telling his younger brother that in Heaven you see more colors than you see here.

The next day, my husband went to the barber shop without the kids. He found out that the barber, Paul, who usually cuts K’s hair, died the day before of a heart attack and that his kids were fighting over his stuff. Weird. Maybe K had a sense that someone passed away, but didn't know any of the details. 

Ever since he could talk, K has known things intuitively. Like when he was around 1 or 2 I was driving him home from daycare. Just before we turned the corner onto our street, he said, "Daddy home." I went on to explain to him that Daddy doesn't come home until after we do. When I drove up to the house, my husband's car was in the driveway. It just so happened that he got out of work early that day.

A lot of little things like this would happen, but I didn't say anything to my parents about it until one day my dad mentioned that K must have ESP or something. He would have the same experiences where K would know things he shouldn't know.

One day my dad took him for a walk down the street. On the way back, he stopped to talk to a neighbor. I guess he was talking to the neighbor for quite a while because K said, "Come on, Grandpa, let's go back. I want to eat Popsicles." My dad was surprised because they never bought Popsicles and K had not seen that they had some in their freezer that they bought just for him since they knew he was coming over. It's not something we would buy for him either.

Time after time it would be these little things that seemed like more than just coincidence. My second son showed no signs of this at all.

When he was 1, we took him with us house hunting. There was an empty house in North Hollywood that had a weird smell to it. The Realtor said the former owners probably had a dog or cat. I didn't agree, but I didn't say anything either. I had a dog and a cat before and it was no dog or cat smell. I was thinking it had a sort of convalescent home smell to it. 

In the house, we all split up. I went to the right, my husband went to the left carrying our son, and the Realtor turned toward the front door. 

The kitchen was too small, so I was thinking that we would not buy the house. I decided to go through the motions anyway and look at the whole house. Once I stepped into the master bedroom, I suddenly felt afraid. Almost like someone was watching me, but the room was completely bare with no furniture in it. It was still daylight outside and the sunlight was coming through the window. I quickly looked at the closet size and said to myself, "Okay, yeah, that's nice" to make myself less afraid then got out of there as fast as I could.

The backyard was spacious but eerily quiet. There was a brick oven back there and I was wondering if anyone got killed around it. I had never had these thoughts about any of the other houses we looked at that day, but this house gave me the creeps.

K suddenly threw up so my husband had to run back to the car to get the diaper bag. I didn’t want to be left there alone, so I ran after them and the realtor ran after us.

The neighbors came home and I was so tempted to ask them if anyone died in the house, but I didn’t.

The realtor said that by California law, the owners are supposed to disclose if someone had died in the house within the last 3 years. That doesn’t seem like very long. Anyway, the realtor didn’t know of any deaths in the house, but my guess by the smell is that someone elderly had died in the house shortly before all the stuff was cleared out of it.

Later, the realtor confessed that she was creeped out by that house, too. She had to go there alone to check it out before she showed it to us. When she was there alone, she liked to keep the front door open. It made her feel better, probably so she could run out of the house quickly if she needed to.

She said that when we entered the house and split up, she had noticed that the front door was closed. She assumed that my husband had closed it, so she angrily turned around to open it again. She was still uneasy about having it closed even with us there. My husband said he had not closed it.

I think K might have vomited because he sensed something there. It happened one other time after he saw a ghost. He has seen a ghost 2 other times before, though and did not have a stomach ache that I can recall.

Our gym is said to be haunted, but he hasn't had stomach problems there. He hasn't seen that ghost and I'm wondering if he ever will. I'm hoping to see that ghost someday. He just had better not follow us home.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Outlining Tutorials in Scrivener

I was searching YouTube for tutorials on how to use Scrivener when I came across Kat whose name on YouTube is Katytastic. She has a great tutorial on how to outline your novel in Scrivener. Here is the link:
She has each chapter broken down for you so that you don’t have to do it yourself. I’m planning on following her structure and hoping it will make my writing life easier.

Her other vlogs where she talks about books are entertaining and funny. If anything, you have to see her bookshelves! O_O At first I thought she was standing in a bookstore. Her books are neatly organized to the point of obsession. If she ever saw my bookshelves, I think she would have a stroke.

Another YouTube tutorial on Scrivener that I like is by Karen Prince.
She has some great ideas on organizing your novel that I think are useful. I wish I had seen this video before I started writing my middle grade book because it’s more organized than the way I set mine up. Not that mine was set up poorly. I don’t think you can go wrong with Scrivener when it comes to that. It’s much better than Word at organizing your novel, but at the same time Word is faster and easier at formatting.

My next novel is going to be complicated, so Scrivener will definitely come in handy. I am relying on it to help me organize all the details.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shadow Boxing With a Ghost

A few weeks ago I was walking through an Old Navy store with my kids in tow. My 9 year old son said he stopped at a mirror and threw a few punches at his reflection. There was a black man standing behind him just watching him with no expression on his face. He turned around, but there was no one there.

When he told me what had happened, I asked him if it scared him. He said, “No.” He is more afraid of things he sees on TV and in movies than the ghosts he actually encounters.

Writing My Middle Grade Book

I just finished the final revision of my children’s middle grade book, so I decided that I had time to revisit my blog. When I say “final” I mean the final before anyone else reads it. The real “final” will be much later.

The next step will be to have a few adults read it for proofing and feedback. I decided to have them read it first in case there is anything confusing in the story that I need to fix. Once I have smoothed out all the kinks, the moment of truth will be to read it to my kids. Yikes!

I made the mistake of reading the first draft to the kids before it was done. That was a lesson learned! I should have waited until it was completely done and polished. They lost interest on the first page. After reading it over to myself, I realized that it wasn't exciting enough and maybe a bit confusing.

I stopped reading it to them and I went back to increase the suspense, humor, and fixed the confusing sentences.

Writing for younger readers wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. I had to write shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs which wasn't the problem. It was thinking of the vocabulary that age group uses and the humor they respond to. I had to go back and change words to make them more understandable for younger kids.

I wasn't exactly sure what I could get away with in the content. R. L. Stine has gotten away with killing and maiming some characters, so as long as I didn't go beyond that I felt like I wasn't breaking any rules. I hope. We’ll see.

I’m planning on looking for an agent to shop this one around. I’m sure someone will let me know if anything is inappropriate for young children. I haven’t added anything my own children can’t handle.

Overall, I felt that writing a middle grade book was restricting. I prefer to write YA novels where I can add romance, bigger words, and scarier content.

Now I have a deeper respect and admiration for writers like R. L. Stine who writes the Goosebumps books and even Barbara Park who writes the Junie B. Jones series for an even younger readership. Writing a book that keeps a child’s attention all the way through over and over again is an accomplishment!