Thursday, May 31, 2007

End of month check in

I know there is still a few hours left, but I'm finished for the night and month, totaling in at 32,867 words. I have all the bones in place, now I look forward to getting the chapters in shape and fleshing them out. This will be fun. The story will take better shape now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm dancing and it's not even my birthday.

I passed the halfway mark on FMS. Don't look at my progress bullet because there are still three and a half days left in the month, and I want to wait til May 31st to post the grand total. I can't wait to see where it ends. This is the most I've written in one stretch--ever. June will be slow because my children will be home for two weeks. Hmm, I think they should visit with their friends, don't you? I hear a peanut butter brownie calling me to the kitchen in way of celebrating. It would be rude to not answer, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just a little reminder for myself for when I panic.

Today, someone asked me about my writing style and my use of outlines. I thought I would post something about it here for when I get stuck and convince myself that I don't know the first thing about writing. When that happens, I can come here and remind myself of what used to work for me.

Basically, my wip's start with barely a glimpse of an idea. I'll think about it and watch it grow. See who shows up, what their connections to one another are, and what their problem is. Many times, the story will change so much it barely resembles my initial idea. That's one thing I've learned, whether you use an outline or not, allow your story the latitude needed to change. Don't make it adhere to one idea. If you will follow where it leads, you will have a much more enriched story.

Speaking of outlines, I never use one, but at a certain point, I do try to order my chapters by using a timeline date in the title of the file to remind myself of what's happening and when. Since I write in chunks, sometimes I'll insert a file between two established chapters and label it with the previous chapter number and an 'a' after it. It can get confusing. That's why I need to constantly check to see if everything is in order and if there are any holes.

I love the freedom that comes from not using an outline because I'm constantly amazed at the things that pop up out of nowhere. Also, if I need to fill in a hole, or add more subplot, I can say, hmm, I'll get to know that character over there a little more, figure out what kind of mischief they can create, and tuck it in where needed.

I never said my process was pretty, but it seems to work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This is how it works for me anyway.

I was reading over something I wrote when I first started writing. One sentences stood out. I thought, it's easy to see this is older material. Not that it was hideously wrong, but it read like I was parroting another author. This is natural. When we first begin writing, we base everything, style, format, voice on things we have read. Since I have established my own writing voice, earlier imitations are easy to spot.

Have you ever noticed when you pick up a book by an author you're familiar with, you expect it to read a certain way, even though there are different characters and situations between the covers? You know this author's voice.

Voice is not difficult. It's you, telling the story as if you were that character. Before you begin a story, you will see certain characters and settings, not always all, generally, a few at a time. As you place them in scenes, watch them, listen to them, how do they react? This gives you the voice of your character.

Don't allow someone else to tell your story. No one will be able to bring your characters to life the way you can.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not all important scenes need to be climactic.

Okay, I admit it. Last night my main thought was reaching the next 1000 in my word count. But when I typed the first sentence, I knew the word count was no longer my concern.

I had finished a scene in my female mc's pov and created a scene break. I read the first sentence after the break, stopped, and thought, that's odd, I was now in my male mc's pov. Deciding to follow him and see what happened next, I gave him the nod to lead the way and away we went.

He and I were equally surprised at what Anna did in this scene. I realized that while Anna directed the scene, in order to experience and understand Daniel's uncertainty and fear of her actions, we needed to see this from his pov. I have never written a scene like this before. What she does in the physical is symbolic for what she is actually doing. Confused? It took me a few sentences to see what she was actually doing, but I am very happy with the outcome.

Right now, the scene is a mad arrangement of actions, and I have much work ahead of me to format it to where it will make sense to a reader. Even then, it will be one of those scenes where you either get it or you don't. I'll do my best to make sure you get it because it is one of those scenes that stays with you after you've finished the book.

And as far as word count goes, yeah, I made it past the next thousand mark.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congratulations, Jen!

Congratulations to Jen for finishing her second book, By The Pale Moonlight. It is a YA and quite enjoyable. Her ending explodes with excitment.

Jen answers a few questions posed early in the book, only to leave you irritated with new developments (in a good way). You will hurt for the characters and become so connected to the mc that you will want to reach right into the book and be there for her. All the while, you sense a strength surge up from the mc that she didn't realize she had. The discovery of it takes you back for only a second before you jump in the air, screaming, Yes!

The cruelist act will be for the sequel to not follow immediately to the store shelves.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Historicals and sales.

Sales for historicals are still flat.(So if you are a fan and want this to reignite, go out and buy more books. Editors, however, are asking for historicals—as long as they are sexy).

The above sentence is a quote from Kristin's blog. She got it from the people at Borders.

For me, whenever I go to B&N (we don't have a Borders nearby), I can never find anything in the, rather limited, historical section that looks appealing. Kind of a chicken and egg thing, I suppose. It makes me wonder, are sales flat because of a lack of good historicals, or is there only a small showing of historicals because stores aren't buying enough of them?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What a productive day.

I am so excited, I wrote 1,800 words today, bringing my overall total to 20, 271 words. Yes! I also came up with a few chapters that will deepen the overall story. I don't know how long this will last, but I want to do as much as I can while it's flowing.

This morning while in my writing frenzy, I got an email. Guess what! I've been asked for a partial by a really good agent who is respected and spoken highly of by top tier agents. WOOOO. I need to get my submission package together so I can send it out tomorrow. I'm so excited.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hanging head in shame.

This is the first time this has ever happened since I began writing. Yesterday, I did not write a single word in my wip. I spent all day (aside from work) doing crits and offering advice for a reading list. This was my own fault. I know I did not have to do as many crits as I did but, I couldn't stop. I saw the wips sitting there, all lonely with basset hound eyes, I couldn't help myself, I had to do it. I just hope my advice is useful. Hey, if I want people to crit my work, I have to be willing, right? I'll write an additional amount today to compensate. Even with yesterday, I'm still on task for my monthly goal, and no one is more surprised than I.

Friday, May 11, 2007

If only it was this easy every time.

Don't you love it when you're thinking about a scene and you start asking yourself how all roads led to this particular scene. You ask yourself, what is it that lurks in this character's past that has brought them to this point in their lives. And as you let your thoughts wander, all these little flashes of scenes and characters pop into your mind. You think, my, my, my, I never expected that from you. And in return, they give you a 'wait til you see what else I'm hiding' look.

What's even better is when you get a scene and although it is completely disconnected from what you've been writing, you write it anyway because you can't pass up that delicious twinkle deep in the mc's eye. Several scenes later, you have an aha moment that links everything together. You sit back, in need of a cigarette, at how beautifully these things have all joined together.

These are the moments that make all writing aggravations and struggles disappear into oblivion. Sigh, gotta love it.

It's a quandary.

This is something I've wondered about. Clothing buyers go to fashion shows to discover what's hot for the season. Where do publishing houses and agents go to know what to look for concerning the bestseller list? Is a questionnaire circulated to find what will be the envy of the literary circuit? I know there are conferences to network, but does this achieve the same affect?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Decisions

I really enjoy this new wip. It's moving along well and the story is deepening, but I'm trying to decide how much depth to give it. Do I want it to be light and fast or a bit weightier? There's nothing wrong with it being either way, I just need to decide. Some of the chapters I've completed, I like where they are and think they're fine, but... Maybe I'm giving this too much thought. I should just let the story play out and see where it ends. I can always go back and add more depth to it.