Omniscient cat wants you to know that even though this is a holiday weekend, he expects you to write at least two pages. If you slack off, he will know and he will come to your house, wait until you're sleeping and kill your muse like a feeder mouse from the cheap pet store next to the pawn shop.
So basically, get writing. Or else. (I swear, he means it. Just yesterday he gnawed my little toe off when I wanted to stop after one scene.)
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Almost every writer I know has had the experience of starting to fall asleep and in that twilight moment, thinking of some brand new element for their WIP. Could be a plot twist, a new characters, a different decision...pretty much anything. Personally, I keep a notepad by the bed for occasions like this because if I don't write it down, it disappears come morning.
Last night I had a thought about my story that was wild and dark and admittedly a little crazy. I allowed myself to think it through, playing out the new twist in the scene I'm writing to see how it would unfold, then decided it was too "out there" and to just let it go, so I didn't write it down.
I woke up at 5:27 AM still thinking about it. That got me thinking about something else - embracing the unexpected. Why shouldn't I at least give this new idea a shot? See how it plays out? At worst, it will cost me a few pages and some time. At best, it will strengthen the story, surprise the reader and add a very interesting new element. Not to mention create more conflict.
Too often, I think writers feel like they can't do something too new for fear of moving beyond the comfort zone of what's currently being published. We're told editors want the same but new. Wow, that's easy to comprehend. lol I say don't just step outside the box, smash the box with a hammer and rebuild it into a set of stairs. See where it takes you. Let the unexpected be your guide. This new idea might freak people out. I'm okay with that. (Especially since I've accessed my dark and twisty side with this new book.)
Have you ever told yourself no when it came to a new idea? Have you ever given one a shot and found it worked really well? Do you embrace the unexpected when it comes to story twists and turns?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Quite often my ideas come to me as characters involved in a scene. At least one character will come to me almost fully formed. I love different characters that evolve into something bigger than themselves, don't you? And I think like most writers, I fall in love with my characters and usually can't imagine ever loving another set of characters quite as much. (Although I somehow manage when the book is done.)
Here are some articles on writing great characters:
From Holly Lisle: How to Create a Character.
From Wiki (for what it's worth.)
One on characters and dialogue.
One from the co-creator of Dramatica.
Are there any tried and true things you do when creating a character? Any other articles you can share?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I'm at Fictionistas today talking nonsense. Seriously. Come muse with me.
Also, Roxanne St. Claire's fab new Bullet Catcher book comes out today! I can't wait to read it. This is - at long last - Lucy's story!!!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Here's some great advice to start your writing week from Jennifer Enderlin of St. Martin's (from the Spotlight at Nationals this year:
Nine Things An Author Can Control
4. Don't compare yourself to other writers.
5. Make a team out of the people in your career.
6. Treat your writing like a professional.
7. Find your own writer support group.
8. Get rid of the 'us versus them' mentality.
9. Attend to the care and feeding of readers.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Friday morning and it's raining AGAIN. I stared at a bottle of Windex for awhile yesterday, just to remind myself what blue is supposed to look like. I know the sky can achieve that color, I just haven't seen it in a very long time. *sigh*
And this weather is putting a damper on the writing - mostly because gray rainy days are only good for so much writing before I feel like eating everything in the house while watching movies I'm A. not that interested in and B. probably seen already. Thus goes the last few days of my life.
Of course, this means I am behind on my goal of hitting page 125 today. I'm starting the day half-way through page 111 - there is no way I'm writing 14 pages today. No way. Especially since my parents are showing up today and that means at least a few hours of hanging out with them. I will write, it just won't be that much. So I'm changing my goal to page 115. Much more doable. I hope.
Ah well. Let the writing begin. What's your writing goal for today?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Once upon a time, there was a lovely young couple who lived in Virginia, so that the husband could serve his country in the Air Force. During their stay in that fine state, a horrible woman named Isabelle came to visit. She stayed for 17 hours, dumping tons of rain and blowing down trees. She liked this young couple so much, she left most of the downed trees in their house, nearly splitting it in two.
At long last, the young man's tenure in the Air Force came to an end and the young couple hied themselves to the happiest place on earth: the Sunshine State. They loved the sunshine and the warm weather and the friendly people. Life was good!
Then Fay came to visit. The young couple immediately recognized her as the distant and much more morose cousin of Isabelle. Fay pouted and wept and tossed things about. She even knocked over some trees! Waters rose. Pools overflowed. Sewers backed up. After three days of this (and no end in sight), the young couple decided it might be time to build and ark for them and their three furbabies.
So. What are you up to today?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Weather Update: Fay is still here, pouring rain down on us. We lost one tree in the backyard and Hotrod has had to drain the pool once, but will be heading out to do it again.
No loss of power, which means I've been able to keep writing. Which is what I plan on doing today. I'd love 10 pages. I'm only at page 103 and I want to be at 125 by Friday, so that would go a long way.
How's the weather in your neck of the woods?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Forgot to mention, I'm at Fictionistas today talking about changing friendships. I'm also sitting at home wondering if I'm going to have power all day or if Fay will turn it off.
Ah well. Guess I better write while I can, huh?
Monday, August 18, 2008
My friend, Melissa Francis, has a new website that's pretty cool: http://www.melissafrancis.net/ Go check it out! That's her in the picture, laughing in a way that seems so...Mel!
In other writing news, I'm starting this week (my writing week runs Monday through Sunday, not sure why, it just does) almost at the end of page 91 - so one page past my goal! Yay me!
My writing goal this week is to end on page 125 by Friday. Not as many pages this week because I have a lot going on - Tuesday: chapter board meeting, Saturday: chapter meeting, plus parents arrive, Sunday: day of travel as I head out to a 4 day long writer's retreat. Hotrod is out of town too, but my parents will be at our house, watching the kittens and generally pretending they live here. Which means the hot blonde at the pool will not be me, but my mother, and the man tinkering with the 69 Corvette is the Sicilian I call Dad, not the retired AF colonel known as Hotrod.
What are your plans this week?
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
This is the song I'm currently obsessing over (I love blues):
I didn't think yesterday would be a good writing day, due to all that running around I had to do, but...I ended up with 5 solid pages AND one handwritten one that wouldn't get out of my head when I was trying to go to sleep. I finally sat up, grabbed the legal pad on my nightstand (for just that purpose) and sketched it out. Wow. I never do that! Usually, the only things I write on there are ideas, a random line, something I've forgotten to layer in, that sort of thing.
Five people have now read a portion of the opening of The Book. Comments range from "there's really nothing you can do to make your craft any better at this point" to a mad, mad comparison to JR Ward to begging for more. All good signs, don't you think?
Today's goal is 10 pages. Lofty, yes, but I'm at 72 and really need to push it if I'm going to hit 90.
What are you working on today?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Yesterday wasn't as big a writing day as I'd hoped - at least not in new pages. I did a lot of good layering and some small tweaks, that kind of thing, but the day just got away from me. Still loving the story and I am so encouraged by this manuscript, I can't say it enough, but y'all are probably sick of hearing about it so...onward! For now. lol
I really need to find something to read, too. I'm falling behind on my 50 books in a year goal. That happens when I'm way deep in a WIP. I get so absorbed I can't focus on much else.
Anyway, I have a mad long list of stuff to get done today so this is a drive-by. What are you up to? And more importantly, what are you writing? And how do you fit in the time to write when your day is already packed?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
A few posts ago, I talked about keeping your joy when it comes to writing and how I was struggling with that until I decided to go back to square one and write a book just for me. A book that I was excited to write, without the pressure of "will it work for this market?" or "what editor would like this?" or any of that.
The result? I'm giddy. I'm rockin'. I OWN writing. This book is, in my opinion, the best writing I've done to date. I keep thinking I'm exaggerating my own skills, but then I go back and read some of what I've put on the page and I'm floored that it came out of me.
It's dark, which for me is saying something. I've tried to write dark before and it wasn't in me. Well, apparently, it is in me if I'm not trying to manufacture it. Granted, only a small portion of this book has been read by other eyes than mine, but it's out with some of my chapter CP's, so we'll see what they think of it.
I just have to say, if you're struggling with writing, thinking about quitting or taking a break, don't. Stop whatever project you're doing and write something just for you. Honestly, it's like a magic elixir.
Did I mention I did 8 pages yesterday? 29 to go to meet my weekly goal!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Hey gang, I'm chatting over at Fictionistas today about internal and external pressure - come tell me what you think!
And on another note, I made it to the top of 8 pages yesterday - a healthy start toward my week's goal of writing 45 in total. Here's to another fab writing day! How many did you write yesterday?
Monday, August 11, 2008
Ah Monday. It brings with it fresh promise for the week ahead. A chance to accomplish great things. To seize the day and really start the week off right.
But I only have one goal this week: 45 pages on my new book. Can I do it? Yes. Will I do it? That remains to be seen. Feel free to apply pressure.
And as an aside, my new book has had me researching such things as: famous executioners, cobra habitats and blood diseases. LOL Isn't that a kick in the pants?
What's on your To Do list this week? And what's the oddest thing you've typed into Google lately?
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
I don't mind confessing that for awhile, I'd lost my joy when it came to writing. Which isn't to say I wasn't writing, just that it had become more of a chore and less of my heart's desire. Does that make sense?
Recently, about halfway through Nationals, my joy came back. It wasn't due to any workshop I attended or any author I talked to or any rousing keynote speech. (Not that those things might not have played into it, I can't say for sure.) I started writing one of those fabled "books of my heart" - a book that was just for me, a book I didn't really intend to foist onto my agent in hopes she could sell it, a book that was my dark reaction to some bad news. I've affectionately termed the story my "screw you" book. (The "you" being general, not specific.)
I'm loving the writing. Loving the storytelling, the character development, the worldbuilding...all of it.
Interestingly enough, it's not a book I'd consider particularly saleable - it's in a genre that might be dying, features characters people are probably sick of reading about. And I don't care. (It's almost like personal fanfic in a way.) Besides, happy is happy.
Best of all, it's inspiring me to go back to the book I was previously working on. That's got to be a good thing, right?
So...how do you maintain your joy? Any thoughts on this? Ever had an experience like this?
Thursday, August 07, 2008
At last, Charmed & Ready is available in mass market paperback! If you're not reading this series, you're missing out. It's fun, fun, fun - a real mix of Bond & Bewitched.
Here's the blurb:
After spending most of her life single-practically an occupational hazard for a witch-Bronwyn's finally found a sexy warlock to love. But it's going to take more than a few love spells to keep him from getting jealous about her latest gig-protecting a rock star named Zane from the creepy Goth guys in cloaks who keep showing up at his concerts and zapping his mojo. Bronwyn would like nothing better than to blow them up in an inferno of Love That Red smoke, but they're proving elusive. And in the meantime-what girl wouldn't want to hang with the hottest man in music?
Now go, purchase and read. You won't be disappointed!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Here are some pics from RWA, mostly from the parties. lol
Kresley Cole, Me, Roxanne St. Claire. Kresley and Rocki were headed to the Pocket party, I was on my way to the Diva Dinner, followed by the Knight Agency shindig. Notice my Farrah hair. Stylish, no?
Barbara Vey and I at the Diva Dinner. She is a VERY fun dinner guest, I must say. Did you catch her drive-by video of the Diva Dinner?
The pagoda entrance to Chinatown. I believe I ended up here three times, for delicious Dim Sum, lunch at the Empress of China, one of the oldest restaurants in Chinatown, and some serious shopping. This place rocks.
The Harlequin party! See that artificial tree in the upper corner? There were four of those in total and later on that night, one actually toppled over. No one was hurt (that I know of) but it made for a few very entertaining minutes. And the woman in black in the background standing on the chair? That's the wonderful and charming Tracy Farrell, who has no problem getting her groove on.
Another Harlequin party shot: Roxanne St. Claire, Marley Gibson, Louisa Edwards and moi. We danced until we were sweaty. It was fab!
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
We're finally heading home today. It's been a long week. I miss Hotrod and I miss my kitty cats. All and all, conference has been a mixed bag. I'm happy to have seen my friends, had some good chats with my fab agent, shopped and sightsee'd like a champ, and best of all, gotten an amazing amount of writing done. However, it seemed really long to me this year. Many of the folks I spoke to said they felt unconnected to the whole event, as I did for much of it. Not sure exactly why that was.
Anyway, I'll be happy to get home. Stay tuned for pics later this week.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Thank God it's Saturday, because I am ready to come home. Which isn't to say I'm not having fun at conference, rather, I'm having too much fun at conference. (Okay, plus, I'm missing Hotrod a smidge. Love that man.)
Yesterday, we did a day trip to Fisherman's Wharf. It was...very touristy. Having lived in Ocean City, MD, I can sum it up by saying it was like strolling the boardwalk. Without the boards. The trolley ride to and from worked my last nerve due to the overcrowding of said vehicle. Sue me, but I don't like having random strangers' body parts pressed up against me. (It was bad. And this from a girl who lived in NYC and routinely rode the subway.)
When we got back, I did a little writing, but I was headed for a workshop at 4:30 about making your own book trailers. I'm sure it was a fine workshop, but I left after a few minutes when I figured out it wasn't anything I didn't already know.
Then I got ready for a night of publisher parties. First up was the Berkley party. It was a cocktails, cheese & crackers and cold shrimp kind of affair. Lots of very nicely dressed folks, including the effervescent PC Cast, who I didn't get to say hi to until the next party, which was St. Martin's. There I met her lovely daughter, Kristin, and her brother, whose name I can't remember - probably because I was too distracted by his handsome face. He's hero material, I can tell you that.
The food at the SMP party was delish and later on, editor Rose Hilliard and I determined (with help from agent Sha-Shanna Crichton and my BFF and newly purchased SMP author, Louisa Edwards and my other BFF, Marley Gibson) that our shades of blonde are fairly close.
From there, we hit the pinnacle of publisher parties, the Harlequin shin-dig. Things were well underway when we arrived, and we quickly joined in the festivities by shaking our money-makers out on the dance floor with executive editor, Tracy Farrell, Jane from Dear Author and Roxanne St. Claire. Also making an appearance were my fellow Fictionistas, Amanda Brice and Rhonda Stapleton, who boogied like there was no tomorrow. Great fun was had by all, I can assure you. Despite one of the massive fake trees toppling over half-way through the night.
Anyway, I have pics but again, no way to download them so you'll have to wait until Monday-ish. Today I'm going to write, hit a workshop or two, then prep for the RITA's and Golden Hearts. And maybe nap. I'm worn out!
Friday, August 01, 2008
Thursday started off with a good workout. The gym here is really nice. Then my roomie, Lara Santiago, and I went down to the Opening Session featuring a motivational speaker who also played the piano. She was very talented, but I can't remember her name. In all honesty, there was a touch of cheesiness, but I imagine most motivational speakers to be like that.
After that, we came back to the room and did some brainstorming until lunch. I was a bad conference attendee and skipped out on the keynote to head back to the room. I'm glad I did, though - I wrote 3 more pages on my new book and did a seriously awesome amount of research for it that led me in a great new direction.
I finally dragged myself away from the computer to attend a workshop given by my agent, Elaine Spencer, and my friend and agency sistah, Marley Gibson. I sat with Kwana, who took100 pictures. lol
Then it was back to the room for a quick transformation into Party Going Barbie for the night's events: The Diva Dinner and the Knight Agency party.
My special guest at the Diva Dinner (held at Buca Di Beppo, where the meatballs really are as big as your head. Almost.) was the lovely and always entertaining Barbara Vey. Check out her blog today for some more Diva Dinner exploits, including a video (I think).
Then Crystal Jordan, Louisa Edwards, Kate Pearce and I hoofed it to the Knight Agency. Harlequin executive editor Tracy Farrell looked like the world's most gentle vampire slayer. Love her! The party further cemented my love for all things Knight. I *heart* my agency more than words. The love, friendship, support and talent they supply really can't be duplicated.
Sorry I don't have pics of any of this, but I didn't bring my cord for my camera. I'll take care of that when I get home. Today, a few of us are headed to Fisherman's Wharf. Afterwards, I'm hoping for some more writing before hitting a few workshops. Tonight brings the publisher parties, so stay tuned for that madness tomorrow. Oh - no workout today. I walked too much in four inch heels last night. The tootsies need a break.