Friday, October 28, 2011

Busy Weeks = No Blogging

Well, I did it again. I disappeared without explanation. Sorry for the sudden disappearance. I didn't really intend to miss out on my blogging, really I didn't. In fact I've been going over blog posts that I want to do for the past week. The problem is that I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off all week. Today is the first day I have been able to sit down with my computer and write a post.

There used to be a time when I would write my posts ahead of time and schedule them for the week ahead. I find, though, that by the time a post goes up onto the blog it's a week or two behind when I actually was at that place in my writing, and things have changed. So, I made the decision to not schedule my posts too far in advance. Instead I write them the day before or the day they are supposed to go up. This, however, has become a problem for busy weeks, like this week.

Added on top I have been beta reading a story for a fellow writer. Unfortunately with all of the business in my week I've had to drag the story around with me sneaking in a page or two, here and there. I guess I didn't realize just how busy this week was going to be until I was in the thick of things. I've learned my lesson, though -> Don't schedule so much in one week, spread things out! I have finished the beta read and sent my comments off this morning. Yes, I loved the story! (Just in case you were wondering.) 

Hopefully, I can keep up with blogging this next month with NaNoWriMo going on. Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I'm so excited about my new story I can't wait for next Tuesday to get here. You can be sure that come 6 am November 1st I'll be jumping out of bed and turning on my computer to write. I already have characters sketches, plot sketches, and scene sketches completed. I'm still working on my setting sketches, but that shouldn't take too much longer. Then I can start my writing! I'm so excited!

So, in a nutshell that has been my last week. Crazy and full of busy.

Your Turn -> How do you keep up with blogging during hectic weeks?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paralyzed Without Internet

Sorry for my impromtu disappearance this past week. Last Sunday my hubby came out of bedroom saying, "I was just kicked off the PlayStation Network and it won't let me back on." I know most households boast a husband that is the tech wizard and the wife depends on him for the internet connection to be fixed. Not so in my house. I couldn't ask him to look anything up on the web to save his life. My daughter, on the other hand, was installing software at the ripe age of three. No she didn't exactly have permission, but that didn't stop her from correctly installing a game. She had watched her Grandpa and Mommy do it so many times, it just came to her.

A few minutes later my daughter came out of her room freaking out that she was just kicked of the internet as well. After a bunch of fiddling with connections and talking to a cable guy, who I could barely understand, we realized that our wireless router wasn't functioning correctly.

My daughter and I immediately went into "OMG! What are we going to do now? How can we survive?" mode. My sweet hubby started laughing and told us to calm down. I texted my parents to let them know that we were without the internet for a while. Seeing this my dad called me immediately. Within half an hour my dad sent me a text saying that he had ordered a new router and it would be here Tuesday.

Still, we were foaming at the bit to get on the internet. Friends of my daughters told her on Monday that if she hadn't been in school they were going to call 911 since she wasn't on Facebook at all. I find it funny that they were so over the top freaking out, but it's not like her to not be on Facebook for an entire day.

By Monday evening my dearest hubby was freaking out that he didn't have access to Netflix or PlayStation. It was my turn to laugh. Mwahaha!

Tuesday when the UPS truck pulled up I threw the door open squealing with joy. Poor UPS guy thought I was nuts. He had no idea just how excited I was. Within a half hour I had internet again.

Yes, I know that's quite a delay in time from when I got my internet back to when I started using it again. That's because I've been trying to make a last push to finish Barely There before November. I need to plan my NaNoWriMo project and I'm beta reading a book for a critique partner. Needless to say being away from the internet was slightly imperative.

Good news, though, I've finished Barely There and I'm almost done with the beta read. That means all of my attention can soon turn to NaNoWriMo.

Your Turn -> How badly would you be affected without your internet?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hooking Readers Instantly

This past week I finally got the chance to sit down and read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Finally! I know what you're thinking, "You're just now reading it?" Yes, I'm a bit behind, but not completely lost. It looks like it took me forever to read the book based on my Goodreads account, but that wasn't the case. I was busy and stealing a minute or two here and there to read it. Until finally, I ignored everything else and sat down to read. I actually lost sleep reading the book, because I couldn't set it down and go to sleep. I would set it down only to pick it back up, telling myself "One more chapter, then I'll go to bed." Yeah, right!

My Goodreads account is set up to feed to my Twitter and Facebook accounts when I update my status. Almost every single time I did an update someone on both sites would make a comment. At one point a close friend of mine mentioned that she didn't know what it was that made everyone so addicted to it when they started reading it. Of course, this got me thinking. What was it?

My first thought was suspense. I mean we want to see how the Hunger Games turn out. Who lives? Who dies? What happens to Katniss and Peeta? They were in a fight for their lives. To the main character everything was life or death. However, the more I got to thinking about it I decided it wasn't just suspense that had me insisting on one more chapter, over and over. It was the hook!

Not only was there a hook at the beginning of the book, there seemed to be a hook in every chapter. Something that made me go "Oh no! I have to read the next chapter to see how that turns out." Collins gives us a reason to keep reading in each and every chapter. It's not us merely wanting to find out what happens next, she is forcing us to push forward.

Each chapter and scene build upon one another AND she gives another hook in each one. So maybe that's what I should be looking at too. Not just building and adding to the story, but continually hooking the reader. Make it impossible for the reader to set the book down. I will have to revisit all of my manuscripts with this in mind in the future.

Your Turn -> If you read The Hunger Games, what made you keep reading? Do you agree that Suzanne Collins continually hooked us?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Obsessing Over 1st Drafts

I'm currently working on the first draft of a manuscript that I have been working on for the past year off and on. I started it last October and dropped it for NaNoWriMo. I just realized I only have 19 days to finish this first draft, so I can start on my NaNoWriMo manuscript. The pressure is on.

Pressure isn't exactly helping. On Monday I wrote chapter 14. It wasn't setting right with me. So after some thought I decided I needed to push what I had written back, further off in the novel. I still liked what I had written, but the timing of it was off. So, Tuesday I wrote a new chapter 14. I loved it! Then after a few hours I started questioning that chapter as well. I've ultimately decided that it needs to be pushed to another point in the novel as well.

Or does it?

This morning while getting my coffee ready I pondered what would happen if I changed a couple little aspects of it and then left it where it is. Move on to the next chapter. I mean, this is the first draft. I still have time to mess with it and move things around. I shouldn't be obsessing over it now. I need to write it, get it out of my head and onto the paper, and then shelve it so I can come back to it in January. November is for NaNoWriMo and December may just as well be a bust as far as writing goes for me. I'm thinking I might devote December to writing short stories instead of anything major.

Your Turn -> Do you find yourself obsessing over first drafts when you know you can come back and fix it later?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Class Clown

Growing up I was never the funny one at school. I never had a clever comeback, at all. In fact it was usually hours later that I'd think "Oh, shoot! I should have said ...." Yeah, I don't consider myself to be a super funny person. I'm still not that witty and I still think about what I should have said hours later. It didn't get better with age.

That said I love to read books where the author has sprinkled in funny incidents. I find that not all books have this, only a few can truly make me laugh in the midst of a mystery or a drama.

I want to be like them! I want to add in that comedic flare occasionally. It's not fair that I'm not as funny.

Wait, I can come back and add in the snappy comebacks and goofy incidents. I'm a writer I can do that sort of thing in my edits.

So, for my current WIP that's exactly what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to sprinkle in scenes that are a little more fun than would otherwise be. Why? I think it fits in this story. I think readers will enjoy it. And, most of all, I'm enjoying the comedic outbursts myself. I think my main character can handle these situations well. At least I hope she can.

Of course, we'll have to see if my critique group thinks it works or not, but I think it does.

Your Turn -> Do you have a similar problem?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Creativity At Last!

It's been a while since I sat down and actually cranked out new content for a WIP. I have several in the works, but haven't actually sat down and started writing until this week. I finished editing what I had previously written for Barely There. Now I'm on to writing new content, which feels so good. I am so happy with where my story is going this time and enjoying every minute of the writing process. I can't believe I haven't written in so long.

I'm also working on notes and ideas for my NaNoWriMo WIP that I intend on working on come November 1st. I can't wait. That one has been simmering for almost as long as Barely There. I've been gathering ideas and doing research on different aspects for this one since last December. Okay, so I was determined to have a story ready to go this time around. Instead of deciding to jump in head first at the last second like last year. This time I'm working on a project that I hope will be amazing.

I'm looking at having a good two months of no editing, just pure writing, pure creativity. It's an invigorating feeling.

Your Turn -> Do you feel a sense of renewed energy when creating a new work?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Editing Fool

Well, folks that would be me, the editing fool. I started writing Barely There last year in October, dropped it for NaNoWriMo, then went back to it, then dropped it for Midnight Raynne, and now I'm finally giving it proper attention. It feels good. I have also sat down and worked out a good outline. I have tried outlining before and had a very difficult time, yet this time is different. I think part of that is because the characters have been simmering in my mind for a while now. I have pictured them doing different things and pictured scenes taking place. I now know what my characters are supposed to do. I think that helped when I outlined this time. I hope so.

Either way, I have gone back to editing. I had written 12 chapters in all before now. the first two chapters were dragging and I wasn't feeling the hook was there. So, this past weekend I cut both chapters. Threw them out and said good riddence. This felt great! I worked in what little information needed to be kept from those original two chapters into the third chapter which is now chapter 1. I'm hoping that is what it needed. Then yesterday I sat down and edited a few chapters. I still have more two more chapters to edit before I can move on to create some new content. I have new content that I want to stick in between already existing chapters, so I will have to edit, create, edit, then go back to creating.

My goal right now is to have an entire first draft done by the 22nd of October. Then I can go on to outlining and building the world for my NaNoWriMo novel this year.

Your Turn -> Have you found that your novel needs time to simmer before it can be written properly?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Watching From the Sidelines and Still Ecstatic

I'm still getting used to life on the Jersey Shore. Yes, I've been here eight years, but still I'm a Texan at heart and I miss my Austin. So, I live two-hours away from New York City. Great! Not really, I don't go there. Too busy and crazy for me. Getting to the Big Apple is not as easy as it sounds. I'm terrified of driving there. That means that I have to take the train into the city. This is all a turn off for me. That means that Philadelphia is my next choice for city life. That's an hour-and-a-half from my house. Another hike, but I will drive there.

So what does all of this have to do with me and writing?

Author signings.

I have my favorite authors that I just love and want to go see. Unfortunately for me the Jersey Shore just isn't the big draw for author signings that I'd like it to be. Instead they all go to either NYC or Philly. This means I have to make a trek. Not bad, except that I have a toddler. This adds a whole new level of difficulty. My toddler is a mommy's boy all the way around. I can barely leave him alone with my husband and daughter to meet with my critique group once a month. He gets rotten when he doesn't have his mommy around.

Therefore, I have not been to any author signings. Instead I send my parents in Austin. Yup, my amazingly wonderful awesome parents go to book festivals in Austin, because authors are always in Austin, for me.

This past weekend one of my favorite authors was in Austin at the Austin Teen Book Festival, Alyson Noel. She writes the Immortals Series. Of which I have all of the first five books on my Kindle. I still need the sixth and final book of the series. My parents stood in a ridiculously long line to reserve the book, and some for my daughter by Heather Brewer. Then they had to stand in the "buy the books" line. Then there were the actual "author signing" lines. This is where they split. My Mom stood in line to get books signed by Heather Brewer for my daughter. My Dad got in Alyson Noel's line for my book. They were in line for an hour-and-a-half, the time it would have taken me to drive to Philly from the Jersey Shore.

Not only did Alyson Noel sign a book for me it was seriously personalized. Not only was Saturday the Austin Teen Book Festival, but it was also my birthday. My Dad sent me the following picture which made me giddy with joy.




I wish I could have been there myself. Unfortunately not many authors I like seem to come my way. So, until authors decide to come to the Jersey Shore I will have to make do. I've already enlisted my parents to go to the Texas Book Festival in three weeks to get Beautiful Chaos signed by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. That's for another post, though.

Your Turn -> Have you met your favorite author? Been to any signings? Share your experience with me.