Monday, November 30, 2009
Well, normally in the part of Texas I live you don't hear sleigh bells unless someone is shaking them, but a girl can dream, right?
This is a fabulous time of year for me. I LOVE Christmas. I love the music, the lights, the sights, the smells, the readings at Church, the Church getting decorated, Christmas books, shows, Christmas Trees--I love it all. I even have a wreath for the door this year that I have to get hung up.
Our tree is up and pretty much ready to be decorated, so I figure tonight when my husband gets home he can get the Christmas box down from the attic and I'll decorate while he and my son are out (so that the breakable decorations don't get flung everywhere by my very curious, but not exactly the most gentle of hands, son). He'll love that when he gets home and sees all the decorations (my son loves lights and things like that).
Today I'm buckling down and going to really work on Conjure A Man--not just pretend to, really work on it. I think I identified what was hanging me up and took care of that last week, now it's time to move the poor story along. (I've revised it so many times, and I'm sure I'll revise it many more times LOL).
I had a weird dream about a Christmas party I'm going to attend in December, but fortunately I don't think the party will be like that. I dreamt that it was like secret Santa store or something rather than the gift exchange we talked about. Weird, huh?
I'm beginning to prep for Christmas on a spiritual level by re-reading The Great Divorce by CS Lewis (one of my favorites by him...I sometimes like it better than the Narnia books; although I love the Narnia books).
I've got a good chunk of my Christmas shopping (and wrapping) done. Normally I start in October Christmas shopping, but we were behind schedule this year, but have made up for lost time.
Mistake I learned from:
Do NOT get the same style gift card for more than one person unless you're going to have the exact same amounts. Otherwise, get the cashier to put in the amounts (or identify it some other way) so you don't go through the stress I went through! (I had to scratch off to get the number and pin number so I could check which was which and then email the people so that they'd know why it was already scratched off when they get it!) Talk about embarrassing.
Most of you probably already knew not to do this, and I think I did, too, but I suffered from a bout of "forgetfulness" and didn't.
Oh! Before I forget...is anyone working on a Christmas story? If so, drop me a line and tell me about it, if you don't mind sharing. I love Christmas stories.
Do you have a Christmas mistake you can share?
Have A Merry Monday!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Other than that--we have a meal planned and are going to get out Christmas decorations.
I plan on subjecting my husband to Christmas music on and off from tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) until New Year's LOL
Have A Wonderful Holiday!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Today is a "take it easy" day due to the fact that yesterday afternoon my son developed an ear infection. He's on antibiotics and is doing much, much better...however, I'm sleep deprived and haven't felt great because of allergy problems probably a touch of asthma. I'm going to the doc's office today to see if I'm doing everything I should be doing and if there's anything else I need to do. Needless to say, I've been taking it very easy today.
Good news is, I'm reading Christie Craig's Gotcha! It's pretty good.
As to everything else, I'm tired after a bad night (my son decided to wake up about 3 times) and then he never did go back to sleep after waking early this morning (no nap so far) and I'm going to have to get ready to go to the doc's office so no chance of a nap for awhile.
But, you know...we all have good days and bad days whether in writing or our real lives, so we just have to do the best we can. I hope all of you are having a good day and getting the rest you need.
I'll be okay, just wanted to let you all know that's why there's not a usual blog posting on here.
Have A Terrific Tuesday!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I thought we'd do a post to dispel some of the myths people seem to have about writers. I'll put the ones that first come to mind then y'all can chime in.
Myth: Writing is a great way to make a lot of money.
I'm not sure exactly how this one matriculated. Probably in the wake of some of the big best sellers (i.e. Stephen King, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer, JK Rowling, and the like) but most of the time writers put in more money for their writing than they do get out of it.
Generally a writer doesn't make a ton of money unless somehow his/her book is a blockbuster hit and blasts through what the author owes in the advance (which is paid back to publishers through royalties).
Most writers I've met and talked to are not millionaires. I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm saying it's not one of those things that's automatic.
Myth: Writing Is Easy Anybody Can Do It.
Okay, granted this isn't entirely a myth, but it's not entirely true, either. Sure, anybody with any amount of knowledge of or ability to string sentences together in a coherent form can write a story. In fact, most anyone could write if they put their minds to it. Doesn't mean it's good. Doesn't mean it will sell (heck, it doesn't even mean us aspiring authors will sell or even that established authors will continue to sell--the publishing world isn't an exact Science).
By the way...writing is sometimes easy and sometimes it's not. There are good days and bad days just like with anything else. Sometimes there's tremendous writer's block (met someone who suffered writer's block for a year) and there's days of tremendous inspiration where everything just flows. It's not always easy and it's not always hard.
Myth: I'm Not Good Enough.
This is one authors everywhere have to fight within themselves. If you don't think you're good enough how do expect anyone else will think you are? You have to have some belief in yourself. You have to believe in your characters and in your imagination.
There's people with wonderful talent out there, who freeze up at the mere mention of trying to get their work published because they don't think they're "good enough". Exactly what is the measure of an author being "good enough"?
Everybody has different tastes, you can't measure your own success by someone else's success and/or failure. (This is one I've had to remind myself of, by the way).
Myth: All Writers Lead Incredibly Exciting (Romantic, Action-Filled, Etc...,) Lives.
This might contain some truth depending on who you are (like maybe a CIA agent who writes action stories or a person who writes romance who leads an incredibly romantic life), however, it doesn't mean this is true of all writers.
I've met writers who lead very ordinary lives. They pick up their kids from school, they have jobs, or work at home. They worry about the roof being fixed, the rent being paid, the crazy hole in the backyard (okay I haven't heard of anyone having a weird hole in the backyard without an explanation, but hey, like most things, it could happen).
The point being...authors are human. They can't help it, they are. In fact, I talk about this in another post.
The point is, authors are just like you or me. They have concerns, fears, dreams, wishes, and good days and bad days.
What are some of the myths/legends you've heard of writers and why are they/aren't they true?
Have A Mysterious Monday!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Normally I haven't been posting on Saturdays, but I'm making this one exception.
First off, if you haven't, get to Friday's post please do so...Elizabeth Pina made an appearance in the comment section :-) Shout out to Elizabeth!
Second of all, I mentioned I was going to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon and I did.
Let's just say: AWE-some! The wolves totally rocked. The pacing is slow--but with very good reason--Bella pretty much clams up when Edward leaves (no I'm not really giving anything away here, most people know that happens). The Volturi just kicked butt--majorly impressed with Michael Sheen as Aro. He EMBODIED that character. Few things were changed--which makes sense, but totally didn't take away from the movie. Very very close to the book itself.
I won't go into depth on my rants about the viewers (cell phone lights, and loud munching) maybe people had an emergency and needed the cell phone on...I don't know and I do like snacks with movies, but even on a release day I've never had it be so distracting before.
But other than the problems with distracting munching and cell phone lights I really enjoyed the movie a lot.
I'm not sure those who aren't "Twilight" fans will enjoy it...but I think it was fun and really good.
Here's looking forward to June 2010 for "Eclipse"!
Have A Satisfying Saturday!
Friday, November 20, 2009
It's Friday! Although, for me, that doesn't mean break from work since I stay home with my son and my husband is working on Saturday and Sunday (although only 1/2 day on Sunday and part of the day on Saturday). But it's still really cool...why?
Because it's November 20, 2009!
So, what's so important about that?
Before I get into the "fang" part of it (like that's not a major hint LOL) there's something else I really want to bring up.
Today is the day that Elizabeth Pina's E-book gets released! It's called Learning To Let Go. She told me she also wants to release it on CD so people can read it on their computers. Especially for the folks that have yet to get a e-reader in the first place LOL. I don't know where it's being sold, so you might have to go to her website to find out. Although, I'm not sure if she has anything but the publisher's name up. But today is the release date for that e-book. The book is Christian Inspirational.
She's a really sweet person and a lot of fun. I got to sit next to her at the Todd Stone Workshop. She's working on some Romantic Suspense, now. I believe she has a book signing in December in League City, Texas.
The other news...
wait for it...
Today The Twilight Saga: New Moon is released in theaters! Last night I was watching The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien and I laughed so hard because he was talking about brooding vampires that made teenage girls scream, so he decided to have one of his own and a guy dressed in pale make up and black clothes came out looking all dramatic and brooding. He was so hysterical.
But it didn't end there.
Then he said he had also heard werewolves were big, so he got another assistant, named Wolf Boy. A topless guy who stared penetratingly at him. That was funny too because he had something on his arm that looked like the tattoo the wolf pack has in New Moon.
Then a guy dressed as Frankenstein came out and Conan told him he wasn't sexy enough, so the guy ripped his shirt off, revealing a costume with like a 14-pack on his chest LOL. He couldn't rip the whole shirt and Conan started making comments about Frankenstein being able to bend metal but couldn't rip cotton. Wolf Boy had to help him.
Later on, Wolf Boy was making his pectorals go up and down and Conan kept saying it was creepy.
Anyway, I got a good laugh over it.
I'm hoping today to get some writing done since this week has been not the most productive of my life. Although, I did do some edits to Conjure A Man, so that's good.
I've also been doing a bunch of reading. I put a Lurlene MacDaniel book on hold because I've read it before, but I was re-reading it because I'm reading a Debbie Macomber book I haven't read. I'm reading Right Next Door, which has been lots of fun. In the second novella, this widow has a 15 year old son who's learning to drive and there's a very funny line in there about her having gotten more spiritual thanks to her son being behind the wheel.
The next book on my list to read is Christie Craig's Gotcha! She's an NWHRWA member and everyone has told me how wonderful her books were, so I thought I'd check them out. Gotcha! looked like fun, so I decided to start with that one.
What are you currently reading, if anything? How's your writing coming? If you're in NaNo, how's that going?
Have A Fangtastic Friday!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Sorry about not posting today. I haven't felt very well today. Had a bad headache (is better than it was, by the way) but I also had some dizziness. It would seem my hypoglycemia decided to act up today. I'm doing better, but I'm taking it very easy.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be much better. Hope everybody else is doing well.
Have A Thrilling Rest Of Your Thursday!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The title for today's post is a play on a song called "Yay Toast!" (I don't know where to find it, but it's a funny song).
But more than that it's because in the last month I've been to Barnes & Noble twice. TWICE! Yay!
Okay, so I didn't get myself anything...but I did browse through several books that look interesting (and one that got reprinted I was excited to see that because I really liked it).
Last night I was doing some Christmas shopping (I finally got started a few days ago. Last year I was already Christmas shopping in October! You see, I have 13 nieces and nephews--and we all keep adding to that number, so I have to make sure I start early enough so I can find out what they're all into and shop accordingly).
In my family--since there's so many of us (including spouses) we are now given a name of a family member to buy for with a price limit. One of my sisters has a program that takes names and matches them (it's a statistical program but it can do this for us, how cool is that?)
Anyway, so last night I was Christmas shopping. It was awesome. I love author Gail Carson Levine and am excited to share her with young nieces and Noel Streatfeild of Dancing Shoes, Theatre Shoes, Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes fame. They've been reprinted--finally--after all these years! Plus picking out bookmarks and a book for a friend's baby's birthday party that we're planning to go to later this month.
But you know what's so wonderful about going to Barnes & Noble and other bookstores? Not just that I LOVE to read, but also it reminds me how vast, varied and extensive the various types of books there are. How there's all kinds of things for all kinds of readers and different ideas have the power to inspire us writers.
How exciting is that?
Also, there's such a great smell about bookstores. I mean...walk in you breathe in this scent of serenity, and calm that comes with reading. I don't know, it just is a comforting aroma to me.
So, what do you find most exciting about bookstores? What types of books inspire you?
Have A Wonderful Wednesday!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Do you find yourself wondering how an author writes his or her synopsis? Do you sit there and think "Wow, this synopsis is so cool, I wish I could do that!" (Incidentally that line of thinking ties into Stephanie's post about Writer's Guilt)
Next year the chapter I'm joining of RWA is planning to have a published author from the group talk about synopsises, so until I have more to add regarding that, I'm just gonna go by what I DO know.
I touched on this a little bit in talking about Todd Stone's BIC (Book On An Index Card). (I like this idea because it helps you organize things to write the synopsis).
But it's not just about summarizing the story in a short paragraph, it's also about making your story sound so exciting that a reader just HAS to pick it up and examine it further...then read it.
Speaking from the point of view of a reader AND writer I can't help feeling that it's not about saying too little or too much, but about saying the RIGHT things.
Have you ever watched a book preview?
Published author, Kerrelyn Sparks has several of these (in fact, a couple on her website). You can also look here, here, and here.
The great thing about book previews is that they synopsize the story and give some visuals (even if you come up with your own ideas about what characters look like, they can still be fun to watch just for the sake of getting a feel for the story).
NWHRWA member, Jen, has a book preview on her website. (She's not yet published).
So, what you put on your book preview you could use to help you write a synopsis.
I've done up a book preview for Surreal and Conjure A Man but I don't have them up on the web, yet. There's still a few things I want to iron out (like thinking of adding images and/or music, but I haven't figured out how to do that, yet--I'll probably see if one of my brothers can help me).
I have to revise my synopsis for Surreal and write one for Conjure A Man but using these tools and whatever I learn as I go along (and attend RWA chapter meetings) I think will help.
So, how do you go about writing your synopsises? Do you have any book previews up?
Have A Top-Notch Tuesday!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Well, it's Monday again and I'm reminded of that song by the Bangles: "Just Another Manic Monday". Kinda the story of my mornings LOL.
Let's face it, we all have dreams as writers. And I'm not just talking about having a Best Seller published, or even having the aplomb of fans all over the place, but I'm talking about some of the more personal dreams. Like getting to meet certain authors/people. Or getting to do something you've never done before. Or getting through a chapter that is particularly difficult to write.
Some of my dreams:
Well, aside from finishing a couple more books I'm writing and reading several other books out there...
I'd like to meet Laura Childs. I've communicated with her through emails and never have met her face to face. I'd also get her to sign at least one of her books I have. (Yes, I'd have to restrain myself from gushing about how much I love her characters in the Tea Shop Mysteries).
I wouldn't mind saying hello to author Gail Carson Levine. I loved Fairest and Ella Enchanted. (her retellings of fairy tales are really great, there's several out there--most of them are short stories)
Robin McKinley is pretty, cool, too...wouldn't mind saying hi to her. (My favorite of hers is Beauty: A Retelling Of Beauty & The Beast).
Alex Flinn would be fun...loved Beastly. I'd beg her for more fairy-tale retellings. She's really great at it. Another good one was A Kiss In Time.
Wouldn't mind meeting up with Regina Doman...author of Shadow Of The Bear, Black As Night and Waking Rose. I'm hoping to read The Midnight Dancers.
Wouldn't mind a chance to tell Stephenie Meyer that her book, Twilight reignited parts of inspiration and passion I had been pining away for (especially since I was so sad over the fact that I had lost over 100 pages of this one manuscript I had written). Her story reminded me how much I love fantasy/paranormal and it helped me figure out that was my niche.
One dream that might come true in December is me meeting Ciara Gold! She told me she's hoping to make the RWA chapter's Christmas Party and I'm planning on being there. :-)
Of course there's some dead authors I wouldn't mind sitting down and having shop talk with:
Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen to name a couple.
This is one of the reasons why I highly recommend finding a writers' group--one like the RWA to join. Doors get open, opportunities come up that might not otherwise. And you meet some of the giants in your genre or at least in the publishing world in general.
I'm hoping to meet Kerrelyn Sparks sometime since she's an RWA member and is member of the chapter I want to join and another local chapter that I've been told is a great one, too.
Oh by the way--recently got my Membership book and letter from RWA! I was excited :-)
So what are you writing dreams? Is it just finishing a difficult chapter/manuscript? Getting through editing? What authors would you just love to meet?
Have A Marvelous Monday!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Earlier this week I talked about dealing with writer's block and dancing around the room to help shake down creativity (something I have yet to try, but I think that might be next on my list. I don't think I'll be doing the hula, but I've got some country music, and a kid who will laugh at me--which is fine. I like making people laugh--as long as it's not ridicule).
But another tactic which I haven't addressed very much is this: a side project.
Now some side projects become a main project, and sometimes they're there just to keep a writer writing. Currently that's what my side project is doing.
Side projects don't have the same pressures that main ones do. Generally they're things an author thinks that maybe they might send off in a query, but other times they're just something that an author was inspired to write and it's keeping them from going completely blocked.
My side project is a Christmas story. I love Christmas--in fact, I'm a Christmas fanatic (I've been known to sing carols in July. As far as I'm concerned "Jingle Bells" has no season, it's fun to sing whenever the mood strikes you). I'm also a huge fan of lights, decorations, presents, the Church building being all done up pretty, the Christmas Bible readings, family time, time with friends, Christmas parties, you name it. I'm still trying to convince my husband that we need to decorate the house on the OUTSIDE, not just the inside. I think this year I might be able to convince him. Especially if I look at him with my gigantic brown eyes and say "Please, please, please, please!" LOL I'm such a kid at Christmas. A lot of people (who claim to be sophisticated and mature adults) revert back to their childhood (on some level) at Christmas.
So, that's my side project. A Christmas one dealing with a matchmaking angel and a woman who has given up on finding her true love.
Do you have a side project? Are you thinking of making it a main project? What's your side project about?
Have A Fabulous Friday!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Almost done with my coffee, which means I'm almost awake LOL. Okay, the sunshine returned yesterday (or was it the day before?) But I've been getting over some kind of a bug, so I haven't been out much. (I'm feeling much better, by the way).
I promise today isn't about hula dancing. Nope, I'm talking characters not just sitting around.
Just sitting around means they aren't passionate, action filled, expressive beings. It means they're stagnant and nothing is happening.
You have to move the story along, so you don't want them just sitting there. You want them flying into a rage because their best friend betrayed them (or stole their significant other) or pleading for their lives or their heart beating wildly as they experience their first kiss with the person they're to end up having a relationship with.
In short, you want them to be animated, breathing, living and lively.
They can't be couch potatoes (yes, TV has some great programs, but your characters have other, more pressing matters on their minds)
Sleeping is important (but you don't want to go into long descriptions about their sleeping habits unless it's important to the story--like if you're describing a dream that plays a big part in the plot)
Sitting around in chairs is a great way to talk with friends, but make sure the conversation moves the story along. They aren't going to just be saying "lovely weather we're having" they're going to be saying stuff like "You lied to me! You're a jerk." or "I can't live without you." Or something like "The murderer is here, we have to question everyone."
Passion moves your story along. Tension moves it along. Action, emotion, fear, joy, horror, sorrow, pain, ecstatic moments move your story along.
So unless a TV show is going to play a role in a scene where more than just the TV is full of action, they aren't going to be sitting on the couch watching a show. (Good example of using TV watching to move the story along is what Alex Flinn did in A Kiss In Time).
Sometimes you have to have your characters sitting (and sometimes TV watching comes in handy in a story) but you have to make sure that's not just what they're doing. That there's more going on than just silently watching a show.
So let the passion, emotion, action, living, breathing characters lose! It'll help keep the story going and the pace strong. (Whether fast or slow).
Have A Tremendous Thursday!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Our fellow blogger (and follower of this blog and literally a "fellow" or as us Southerners say, "fella"), Bane, wrote something about emotion on his post yesterday. (Incidentally enough, he gets a shout out for that post, it was entertaining and informative. I liked it!)
Todd Stone says put your hero/heroine in danger. This increases the suspense, emotion and overall encouraging your readers to care about your characters.
Of course, depending on your genre this can mean different things:
Mysteries it could be that your sleuthing hero/heroine finds themselves finding out someone closest to them is the bad guy. I remember one time when I was reading one of Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mystery book (the first one in the series, this was the first time I had read any of her work) I thought maybe Delaine Dish was the one who committed the crime, but she was innocent. (By the way, if you like "cozies" her books are awesome. She's also incredibly nice and gave me some very helpful information more than once).
For action it could be your hero/heroine being held at gun point:
John Girsham often has suspense mounting by having his hero/heroine being chased by the bad guys because that person has something the bad guys don't want revealed. (The Partner anyone? Or The Runaway Jury?)
I don't know a whole lot about horror except that I've heard you never want the characters to open a door and then they do it and on the other side of the door is the monster.
For Romance, it can be the sexual tension between the hero and the heroine, or it can be one of them fighting against a mounting attraction (like Delaney is doing in Conjure A Man)
How do you keep up the danger, emotion and/or suspense in your own writing?
For me, I keep having a sense of danger or conflict getting in the way of complete happiness for my characters. Things that keep them wondering if what they're doing is the right thing, until, finally they make the decision one way or another. Of course, being about happily-ever-after I can't forget to resolve that conflict.
Anyway, your turn to answer the question. :-)
Have A Wondrous Wednesday!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My original post for today I decided to do away with and go with this idea instead. WARNING: It's a pep-talk/encouragement post, all who do NOT want to be encouraged read no further. (Although, I suspect we all want encouragement at one time or another, so keep reading).
Okay, here's the scenario:
You're sitting at your computer staring at the blinking cursor of a blank screen and your mind says "AAAAAAHHHHHHH!" This goes on for about 1/2 an hour. You can see the seconds, the minutes, the hours going by...still nothing. "Oy vay!" you think, "I'm supposed to be writing for five hours and it's been almost two and I still have nothing!"
WHY ARE YOU STARING AT THE CLOCK???!!!
The clock isn't your friend when you're struggling with writer's block. It's not even your muse. It's working against you. It's a conspiracy to make you think you can't get anything done. I'm telling you: IGNORE THAT CLOCK.
What should you be doing?
Well Todd Stone says write anything. Even if it's gonna be deleted tomorrow. Todd Stone says that you can't write anything wrong because you're going to improve it.
Yes. You will improve that terrible paragraph that goes on for 15 sentences about what a chair looks like. That is, you will, when you revise and edit. For now, you're trying to get the story on the page.
It's been three hours. WHAT? YOU LOOKED AT THE CLOCK AGAIN?! NO!
The clock doesn't exist. The only thing that exists is you and your story. Get away from the computer if you have to. Get up and read a book--sometimes that triggers creativity.
Get up and dance the hula--okay, you might feel funny doing it, but if you close the blinds and do it while no one is at home, who's gonna see you? Go ahead, stand up and shake that thang!
You know the song: "You gotta move it move it"
Or that other one that goes "Shake your groove thang."
Or KC & The Sunshine band: "Shake, shake, shake, shake your booty, shake your booty"
"You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about!"
Come on! Who bloody cares if you look silly? The point is, you're working out your imagination, you're pulling out all the stops. And, you're ignoring the clock. (You don't even have to tell anyone that you went around dancing the hula or shaking your booty to get your creative juices flowing. That can be your little secret).
Like my friend, Michelle W. (Shout out to Michelle!) and I say: "WHOOPEE!" Shout your "WHOOPEE!" out loud and remember, it's okay to look foolish, you're a writer, remember? It's about pushing that creativity to the surface and pushing aside those fears.
You're serious about your writing. You're professional. That's great, you should be.
But when you're shaking up your imagination, you don't have to be serious or professional, you just have to let it free flow.
Remember: You're gonna improve that manuscript in the revision, rewriting and editing portion.
Right now, it's all about getting that story going. Exercising that imagination. Get those creative juices flowing!
Okay, so I sound like an exercise DVD (like Leslie Sassone says: "I just know you're feeling great." Usually she says that at the point and time that I'm thinking "What am I, nuts? I'm so out of breath I feel like I've done gone lost my mind doing this!")
So you lost your head for a few minutes there...but now your imagination is kicking in. You're riding a high, you're feeling great, you're feeling invigorated (okay, maybe slightly foolish, but imagine how I feel writing this post LOL).
Laugh it off, and let that writing flow. Let the creativity overpower the self-consciousness and go for it!
Now, how do you get your creativity flowing? Do you get up and do what I said in this post or do you stare at the clock pleading "Please, please, please something come to me!"?
Have A Thrilling Tuesday!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Wow. It's actually overcast today. Maybe it'll do more than sprinkle (which was yesterday) and actually rain. I don't really mind because maybe this means the cold front's on it's way.
A big shout-out goes to Marsha today! Got to meet the Queen of the Friday Flashbacks on Saturday at the NWHRWA meeting. Pretty cool and she fit right in (knew she would). I apologize for her feeling she was back in high school and late for class. Wasn't intentional, but hey, I can't help that there was an accident and made her late! LOL. Be sure to go over to Marsha's Musings to check out her Friday Flashback posts. They rock my socks! :-)
I'm sorry for no weekend posts, but I think I'm going to give them up (at least for now) mostly because my weekends have been quite busy lately and also because my in-laws are in town and they'll probably come over at least once or twice for the next couple of weeks until they go home.
I got ZERO writing done over the weekend because I was super busy. Had the NWHRWA meeting on Saturday morning, then found out a dress I wanted to wear didn't look right and had nothing for a dinner I was going to that night (I needed something dressy). I did end up finding something at JC Penney and the dinner was fun and very good. On Sunday my in-laws came over.
Anyway...onto today's post topic...
I'm referring back to Todd Stone again on this (just in case you need a reference point).
Todd Stone says that when you're planning or writing out a scene (drafting it) you don't want your characters just talking or discussing you want each of your scenes to have power.
So how do we "power-punch" a scene?
Get rid of the discussions. No more talking. A lot of people can talk and discuss. But you want them having action and things going on. You want your readers to get to know your characters.
It doesn't do any good to have:
Clark talked to his Dad about his problems.
Sure. They could talk. But it makes the scene flat. What if Clark and his dad don't see eye to eye? You don't want to say:
Clark talked to his Dad about his problems. They didn't see eye to eye.
That's TELLING! And remember the golden rule of writing: "Show don't tell."
Or what if you had:
Zora discussed her feelings for Clark with her mother.
Hmm...what do we know about Zora? Well, other than the fact that she talks to her mother, and has some kind of feelings for Clark we have no idea. What if she was falling in love with Clark? Or what if they were having problems? Or what if she didn't like Clark at all?
How would you change these two situations to make sure they are alive and showing rather than telling?
That's the same thing you do with your own scenes. Todd Stone says, "If you write that your characters talked, then that's exactly what they'll do. If you say your characters discuss something, then all you have is a discussion."
You want to make sure every scene is meaningful. Todd Stone says you need to have "your genre heartbeat in every scene."
So if you're writing action, have an action heartbeat, if it's romance, you need that one, if it's paranormal or fantasy have that. Whatever is your "genre heartbeat" that's what needs to be reflected in every scene.
What methods do you use to make sure your genre heartbeat is there?
Personally I focus on the "other-worldly" and relationship to make sure my paranormal romance heartbeat is alive and thumping.
Have A Momentum Monday!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Once again a clear beautiful day! I can hardly believe all week long it's been like this, but hey, that's pretty awesome (although there's talk in the weather news that rain might be coming). I think I'll chant: COOLER TEMPERATURES! COOLER TEMPERATURES! Hee hee. Not that 70's are so bad, that's actually pretty good, just that I love cold weather (not enough to live where snow is deep but enough that I like to bundle up and at night cuddle up under layers of warm blankets). But really, the weather's been nice.
Georgette Heyer (died in 1971) wrote both mystery and romance. I haven't read her mysteries, but as far as I'm concerned, her romance writing was great. If you haven't read These Old Shades, even one of my brothers-in-law liked that one. (Pretty much both me and most of my sisters have read and loved this one).
One of my sisters who's incredibly observant and noticed that in one part of this story where it's meant to say that someone opened the door and another person went through it the opening, it says: "Leonie opened the door and the Duke passed out." Pretty funny, whether intended that way or not.
But Heyer is more than just a mild slip of the pen in description (perhaps intentional slip of the pen), she also has witty and fun characters (particularly Sophy in The Grand Sophy). And it's more than just romance in her romance novels, it's a story, dialogue and characters. Characters that may seem one way to each other, but are actually so much more than what the first impression renders (in the grand tradition of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice) in the sense that you can't always be sure you know a person's character completely from one meeting or from some thoughtless statement.
However, what makes a witty character? What makes for clever dialogue?
Sometimes it's a matter of putting in your own sense of humor to see if it works. Or drawing from other novels you've read.
How about you? What makes for a witty character and clever dialogue? How do you incorporate those things into your own stories?
For me it usually means drawing upon my own goofy sense of humor and what I think is funny. Sometimes it's just a matter of having a character who dares to push the limits (like in the original draft of Conjure A Man where Caruso flirts with a member of The High Counsel just because he has the capacity and doesn't really give a care what they think--yes, I had to cut that because I ended up rewriting to fix up the story and then again to fix Delaney's character).
So your turn--What makes for clever and witty dialogue and characters? What about funny descriptions?
Have A Funny Friday!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Okay that a little bit of a cheesy opening, but every so often, I have to be cheesy. It's part of my charm.
More sunshiney clear sky lovely days! But I know it's going to be in the 70's. May I whine that it's not any cooler than that? Please? I'll be your best friend.
Okay, all kidding aside (obviously coffee and sleep deprivation kicking in--okay maybe sleep deprivation isn't really the excuse, but coffee kicking in)
Todd Stone said to put your people in danger to make your book more of a page turner. This doesn't mean that if you're writing in a genre that believes in happily-ever-afters (e.g. Romance) that you make it impossible for some form of happily-ever-after to happen. What he means is throw everything you can reasonably throw at your characters to make that ending even better.
This might mean put more tension between your characters (in Romance you can have the two that are supposed to end up together hate each other for a long time before they realize they actually are madly in love...ooo, I like those! I think they're fun).
Or if you're writing action go all James Bond-MacGyver on everyone. Write so that it's heart-thumping, pounding action. Don't let them sit still, if you're writing action your readers will be expecting ACTION.
Drama--ooo so many ways to increase drama. Whether it's a 17 year old running away from home or discovering his or her parents are actually aliens who want to take him/her away to their home planet for morbid experiments.
Or even something Stephenie Meyer-esque like in The Host or even a brooding vampire/shape shifter falling in love with someone he/she can't have.
Or the dragon that suddenly turns on his/her master and wreaks havoc on the village.
There are a bazillion ways of heightening the drama and increasing the danger.
What are your suggestions on heightening drama and increasing danger? What inspires your drama/danger in your stories?
Have A Thrilling-Thudding Thursday!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Yet another lovely day in my neck of the woods, although, going by the weather report it's supposed to get up into the latter 70's...darn. Was hoping it would stay chilly like my house is in the morning! I talked to my cousin's husband yesterday and he said up north it was in the 30's and 40's. Lucky ducks (okay I don't need the waist-high snow, but I'll take the colder weather) LOL.
Yesterday I was working on Chapter 3 of Conjure A Man and right in the middle of an argument between Delaney and Pierre I took a break. I told a friend of mine "Yep, I left them right in the middle of an argument." That means when I go back (or went back) I have an exciting part to start right off on--a place for my creativity to immediately wake up and get to work.
I heard about this method from either a published author or a book (I can't remember exactly where) but in any case it says to stop right at an exciting part (when choosing a place to stop for the day or for a break). Or put in a chapter break there, if it's long enough.
In this way you accomplish 1 of 2 things (or if it's a chapter break, 2 things):
1. You have a place to work from when you come back from break.
2. If it's a chapter break, your readers have to turn the page to find out what happens.
Both things can move your writing (and reading) along.
So what do you do to help ensure that you'll be able to get your creativity juices flowing and keep readers turning the page?
Have A Work-Write Wednesday!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Well another beautiful Fall Day (yay for pretty sunshine and cooler temperatures!) Yes, I will cheer on the cooler weather all Fall and Winter if it means I don't have to wear shorts during the Christmas 12 days (and earlier and through January).
I think we writers need a slogan on button that says "I have a pen and I'm not afraid to use it!" Hmmm...I wonder what kind of questions we'd get about that?
Maybe we could also have our own coffee from all the major coffee manufacturers (do they realize how many writers drink coffee?) They could have "The Write Stuff" or "Write Bold" or "Write Italian Roast"
Okay...maybe the coffee is already hitting me and I need to back off the sugar. But still...it seems like novelty coffee would be fun. What do you think?
In along the same lines as the title of this post (which, don't ask me how I thought of it, just all of a sudden it occurred to me and I liked the sound of it)
Lately writing Conjure A Man the writing part isn't too bad. Although I have gone back and fixed up places to make sure Delaney isn't too stand-offish or too defensive. Don't want her overdoing it. But I'm thinking the new ideas will make writing the rest easier. I'm finally satisfied with Chapter 1 and for the most part satisfied with Chapter 2 that I was able to start chapter 3...but I cut myself off--why? Because I wanted to save some of that creative juices for the following days so I don't lose momentum. After all, Todd Stone said "don't fight fair" (got that quote in the margins of my blog on the right hand side) So I intend not to fight fair and encourage the story to come bursting out of me. After all, writers love those wonderful bursts where everything seems to fall into place, right?
I'm looking forward to getting back to Heartbeats. There's a place I need to fix, but I think it's going to go pretty well. I've got ideas bouncing around in my head on and off, so that's always a good sign.
Surreal still has to finish undergoing major editing, but I'm glad I have a good tool and that already 3 of my scenes are going to be better than they were. One of my goals is to cut down the word count (I have 500 pages so I'm feeling this need to tighten things up and lower that count so it's not too high of a word count, I don't want anyone going "Man, this is way too wordy.")
Anyway, so that's what's up on the writing front.
How are you brandishing your pen (er, keyboard)? What writing slogan buttons (or products) do you think would be fun to have on the market for writers?
Have A Tremendous Tuesday!
Monday, November 2, 2009
So thank you so much J.J.! Too sweet. Well according to the rules I have to say 7 things about me y'all don't know...if I accidently mention something I've already said, then I'm sorry:
1. For something cliche: my favorite colors are purple and green...every now and again I like blue, pink or red (but I have to be in the right mood).
2. I used to take horseback riding lessons (like when I was 12-16ish). I learned how to ride bareback, English and Western. I did some jumping. I never did Drassage, but one of my sisters did.
3. I'm allergic to turkey--no really I am (weird, I know, but eating it makes me sick).
4. My husband and I were once a part of the same singles' site (before we were dating), but that's not how we met.
5. I was a note passer in high school. But I refused to cheat.
6. When my younger brother said "Fa-shizzle" for the first time when he was in college I had no idea what it meant. (He's in Grad school now and he very nicely translated for me).
7. I love the song "We're Not Gonna Take It" although I can never remember who sings it.
Now...the other part of the rules said to award the award to 7 bloggers...
Marsha of Marsha's Musings. She's got some great thoughts on writing and I loved her Flashback Friday post saying her husband looks like Kevin Costner. That rocks!
To author Ciara Gold of Ciara Gold's Treasures for giving us a "peek" at a published writer's life. Awesome :-)
To Regina of Regina Rhythm for all her help and for having some great advice for writers and other artists on her blog.
To Anubis of Bane of Bane's Blogging Blues for offerring me something outside my usual perusals online. (Particuarly his title from yesterday's post LOL).
For Monica (who's blog I won't link since I'm not sure whether or not she'd want me to) But, I love the stories of my nieces and nephew! (yes, she's one of my sisters, but cut me some slack I don't follow a ton of blogs!)
Also to Babz, another one of my sisters. She doesn't get on her blog much, but it's still good to keep up with everything.
And to Rob, my brother. He has 2 blogs, so either one of them works to have the award.
First off I want to send congratulations to Stephanie. She just got a contract from an agent. You can go to her blog and wish her congrats. YAY FOR STEPHANIE! (She gets a major shout-out today).
Today is another pretty day. Clear, blue sky, and chilly in the house LOL. Yesterday we couldn't find our TV remote. My husband must have found it this morning because when my son and I got up there it was right in front of the TV (and it wasn't there last night). Yay! (My husband also gets a shout-out).
My uncle had a scan and found out there's cancer activity in his brain, so prayers and thoughts for his remission from that would be much appreciated. (Thank you).
Last night I worked on chapter 2 of Conjure A Man, smoothing down some rough edges that were bothering me. I think it's getting better. I'm beginning to understand more of what I want in there and Delaney's character. When I first wrote it I felt like she was kinda weak, but wasn't sure what to do, when I made another pass at it I was still frustrated, now it seems to be ironing out. YAY!
I've been reading Susan Wiggs' The Maiden's Hand. So far it's pretty good. It's the 2nd in a 3-book series. I haven't read the first one of the series. I got this book in the gift bag when I was at Todd Stone's Novelists Boot Camp Workshop (along with 3 other books that I have yet to read).
This month Elizabeth Pina's book Learning To Let Go is released. Please check out her website to get more details. (I sat next to her at the workshop, real fun and sweet. The book coming out is an Inspirational Romance, and she's working on a Suspense Romance that sounds good).
For Twilight fans everywhere The Twilight Saga: New Moon movie is going to be released this month on November 20th. The movie looks like it's going to be really good. (Been checking out the previews on The Twilight Lexicon).
I declare today :-) Find Happy News Day :-) So please share some happy news in the comment section (thank you in advance). (Part of the reason is because there's so much good news, I'd like to keep it up and also because I'm worried about my uncle and some other things, so good news is a good way to keep one's spirits up).
Also, I asked this question over the weekend: What are you all currently reading? (something besides your own manuscripts).
You all have big plans this week? My in-laws are in town so we're probably going to see them a couple of times this week.
Saturday is busy for me--got an NWHRWA meeting then that evening I'm attending a dinner (no it's not in my honor LOL).
Have A Merry Monday!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The skies are clear, the sun is shining, it was freezing in our house because we didn't put on the heat last night, although it's supposed to be in the 70's today, but cooler weather, yay!
Hope those who are supposed to remembered to set back their clocks (remember: "spring forward, fall back!") We did, when we got up this morning.
Today is All Saints' Day for Catholics (remembering women and men who exemplified following Christ's words and having a close relationship with the Lord). We went to Mass last night for the vigil.
Today is also when celebrating my dad's birthday since we couldn't on his actual day. So spending time at him and my mom's house today.
As to writing, not sure how much I'm going to get done due to all the other things I have to do today (still gotta decorate the cake--Dad had me make a carrot cake, thank you, Joanne Fluke for the wonderful Carrot Cake recipe in Carrot Cake Murder--not a hard recipe to follow and very, very good--just takes time to grate the carrots if you don't have an electric grater. I use 6 big carrots and found it gives just the right amount--slightly over, but I've never had any complaints about extra carrot--that's how my husband likes carrot cake with plenty of carrot in it).
Anyway, hope you all enjoy your first day of November. Got big plans for today?
Also, please, if you're a praying type, pray for my uncle. He had a scan done and there's cancer activity in his brain. Not sure what else is going to be done at this point, but it's rough because he just went into remission earlier this year for about 2-3 other places he had cancer and he had hernia surgery. So please, whether you pray or you just hope things get better for people, please remember my uncle. Thank you so much!
Have A Scrumptiously Sweet Sunday!