Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Character Pep Talk

I haven't really gotten anywhere in my writing since I had my big break through on chapter 10 last week. Instead, I've been waffling over what POV I should be writing in. After discussing it with fellow critique partners and reading a bunch of blogs on the topic, I'm not really any closer. That is, I haven't come to a decision yet. I have rewritten chapter 1 several times, though. I now have it in first person past, first person present, and third person past. They each have their advantages and disadvantages.

In the meantime while I waffled around I came to the realization that my main character had decided it was time to take a break. Not good, since I need her to help me tell her story. Instead she decided to take a little pleasure trip elsewhere, away from my brain.

So, last night I sat down and had a little heart to heart pep talk with her. Yup, I told her that it's okay to have off days and take a vacation now and then, but playtime is over. We need to get cracking on this edit and move it along. There just isn't any possible way that Phoebe's story will ever get out to the public I've we don't work together and get the show on the road.

What do you know? Today Phoebe returned from her vacation. It seems that little pep talk worked and the story is back on track. Now my only problem is finding the time to sit down and write.

Your Turn -> Have you ever found yourself missing your main character, muse or voice, whatever you want to call it?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Reviews & Authors

Lately there's been a big hubbub about the Author-Reviewer relationship. This got me thinking quite a bit.

If When I'm published will I read reviews of my book?

It's a reasonable question. One that I was sure the answer would be a resounding yes. But things have happened over the year that have caused me to rethink my stance.

1) I started actually reading random book reviews of books I liked on Goodreads. This was an eye opener. While I try and write positive reviews some people out there don't care. While I understand that the author put blood, sweat, and tears into the long painstaking journey of writing a novel, getting an agent, & being published, others don't care. I've seen some pretty nasty reviews up. Ones that instead of simply saying they dislike the book have torn the author's personal character up.

2) Recently there was a virtual fight between an author & a reviewer. From what I read about it I got the impression it wasn't clean argument. I tried to stay oblivious, but my curiosity got the best of me. Thing is, in the end, I see both sides.

3) Several authors I admire have recently been speaking out about NOT reading reviews of your own book on sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, .... They made a good point: It's published, you can't change anything now. And they're right. Once it's published it's out there for the world to love, like, dislike, or hate. There's nothing you can do at that point. You can't control the opinions of others, that's what makes us all unique.

I'm sure I'll want to read the reviews, and probably will read one or two, but I have to remind myself that the reviews aren't there for me, they're someone else's opinion, and not everyone has the same tastes that I do. I've read glowing reviews of books that I didn't care for at all. It wasn't the author's fault I didn't like the book, just my tastes and my own opinion. So with that I'm hoping I can be strong and stay away from reviews of my own book.

Your Turn -> Will you read reviews of your book?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snap, Crackle, and It all Clicks Together

As I mentioned last week I sat down and read the rough draft of my manuscript from beginning to end. I made notes about what happens, what to cut, and ideas to make it better. As I was adding these notes to my Scrivener file for Barely There, everything clicked together. I knew what to to cut and what to ad instantly.

It was such a wonderful feeling. I felt like dancing around the house and jumping for joy. Now comes the fun part of putting it all together and edit those chapters. I can't wait!!!!

So, on that not I'm going to leave you for the day and run off to edit. :-)

Your Turn -> How do you celebrate when your ideas click?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Still Evaluating

You see that crazy woman sitting in the corner pouring over her notes, manuscript, and computer? The one right there. *Pointing at me* Yup, that's the one. I'm still evaluating my manuscript and where to go from here. I knew I was going to have work ahead back when I wrote this rough draft, but man is it tedious.

As I wrote the ending of the manuscript things came to me and I knew I needed to return to the middle and change several aspects. Well, it's time to do that and it's kicking my rear!

For the past three days I've been pouring over my manuscript, reading the entire thing, and making notes. I've got notes on what happens, what to cut, and what to add. I finally finished this step just this morning. Now I get to sit down and reorganize those notes.

Rather than sit down and line up all of my notes on my living room floor and make sure that everything flows I'm going to make use of that wonderful new software I have, Scrivener. I already used a couple days this past week to import all of my already edited manuscript into Scrivener and do the tutorial. So far I'm loving it. I think it's a wonderful program and very helpful with the way in which I write and plan. I can't wait to mess with my next manuscript entirely with the software.

I love the note card aspect of the software, because that's how I tend to plan my scenes. I'll write them all out on note cards and then spread them out. My living room gets to be a mess and the toddler loves to rearrange them. You can see why I like the computer note cards better already. So for the next few days I doubt I'll be doing much editing, instead I'll be evaluating via note cards what will come next.

I'm hoping to be back to editing by Saturday, but I'm not holding my breath. Monday is my goal day to be back to the actual editing process again.

Your Turn -> Do you step back now and then to evaluate the situation while editing?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA & PIPA - A Writer's Veiwpoint

Here's what you need to know about SOPA & PIPA: 

1) Follow the link below to find out what Neil Gaiman has to say about piracy and being an author. I found it extremely interesting and an eye opener to someone wanting to enter the world of publishing.

Neil Gaiman on Copyright Piracy and the Web

2) The animation is what you need to see on this site. It's very helpful in understanding what exactly SOPA & PIPA will do to the internet.


The Oatmeal.com

3) Sarah Woodbury explains it plain and simple in her blog as well.

Sarah Woodbury

4) Now that you've educated yourself on SOPA & PIPA go find out who your representatives are and tell them you don't want these bills to pass. Although Wikipedia is blacked out today they have created a link for you to find out who your representatives are.

Wikipedia

5) AND go sign the online petition over at Google.

Google

Yes, I did both 4 and 5 on my list. There are better ways to deal with online piracy than these two bills.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Evaluating the Situation

That's right, I'm stepping back from my WIP to reevealuate where I'm at and where I'm going. It's taking time, but I'm getting there. I was moving right along smoothly and then I got to chapter 10 and thought, "What?!!!"

Yup, this chapter is not what I want it to be. It's a disaster. I remember writing it thinking that I would fix it during revisions, but now that I'm there, I'm not enjoying it. I glossed over things that I know I really need to go into more detail with, but I'm just not sure how I am going to do this.

So for the rest of the week I'm rereading my next ten chapters and making notes on them. I'm also going to spend the time outlining this painful chapter. Hopefully by this weekend I'll know what needs to be done and do it.

I wish that writing muse would just swoop down and tell me what needs to be done instead of taking a vacation.

Your Turn -> Have you ever found yourself stuck during both the rough draft and edits at the same spot?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Holding Back

The other day I received my copy of the SCBWI bulletin for Jan/Feb 2012. As usual I flipped through it quickly taking stock of what articles I was in for when I actually had a chance to sit down and read it. I found an article that stopped me in my tracks, and I ignored getting dinner ready for a few extra minutes to read it.

The article was "Don't Hold Back" by Joelle Anthony. In the article Anthony discusses her realization that her characters were holding back. They were thinking of doing something, but not doing for some reason or another. This struck me as something I've noticed in my own writing. Too often I find myself typing a scene where my characters could react in one way, but they don't, they hold back. Or rather, I hold them back.

Anthony suggests not holding back. Allow your characters to react the way they want to. Even if you open a new document to do so and never end up using it. You may learn something new from your characters or have a great new scene. She suggests going through your manuscripts looking for key phrases such as, "I wanted to, I tried, I wished, I lost my nerve, ..."

It was like this lightbulb moment for me. I have been holding my characters back and I didn't realize it. Well, I did, but I pushing it to the side and moving on. So, I took a look at the chapter I was starting to edit. What do you know? I found a spot with potential for my characters to react differently. My main character is a teenager, who is dead, she needs to show more emotion. This is clear from my critique partners that she needs to let go and unleash more. I did just that. I let her flip out on someone rather than quietly calm herself down and hold back. When I let go, she let go, which of course allowed another character to let go as well.

I feel better for the excersize and will definitely be doing this more often. I know I was an emotional teen. So why can't my characters be emotional as well? There really ins't a good reason not to let them let go now and then. Of course, they shouldn't let go all the time, but occasionally they should. Especially if it will help round out their character and further the story.

Your Turn -> Are you holding back your characters?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting It Right

Sometimes knowing when a manuscript is working or not is a blurry line. Barely There has definitely taught me not to second guess myself.

How?

When I first started writing the manuscript I only had a vague idea of where I was going. I did not use an outline either. I wrote a little, shelved it, wrote a little more, shelved it again, and the finally began to push through. This final time, though, I created an outline and went back over everything I had written on it. The first two chapters bothered me, a great deal. I didn't know what it was about them that I dislike so much, but I came to the conclusion I needed to toss them out, so I did.

Then I gave the first four chapters to my critique group who lovingly reminded me with every chapter that they were lost, confused, didn't know the main character as well as they would have liked. This is where the second guessing comes into play. The idea occurred to me that maybe I should never have gotten rid of those original two chapters in the first place.

So, I submitted them to my critique group. I even altered the next two chapters to reflect that change. Then I got back my critiques.

They didn't like those two chapters at all. They were riddled with things they didn't like and felt the two chapters could be deleted all together. Stepping back, I agree with them 100%.

Why did I second guess myself?

That was a moment of weakness, of self-doubt. Something writers have all too often. I also don't think it's something we can escape doing now and then.

Your Turn -> Have you ever doubted a change you made & then realized you were right to make that change?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January Releases

I was thinking about all of the books that I am looking forward to this month the other day. I realized there are quite a few. In the absence of a good blog idea for today I thought that highlighting these books would be fun. Let you see a little of what I'm looking forward to. I might even keep this as a monthly post this year.

Dreaming Awake (Falling Under #2) by Gwen Hayes (January 3)


Why -> I read the first book, Falling Under, this past year and loved Theia and Hayden. Not to mention demons are involved. I read several books this year that dealt with the underworld in one way or another and this was one that I loved. After reading the ending of book 1 I am super excited to see how things turn out for Theia and Hayden. I don't want to give anything away if you haven't read the first book.

Under The Never Sky (#1) by Veronica Rossi (January 3)

Why -> 1- It's a dystopian which I grew to really love this past year, 2- There's a virtual world the characters live in, & 3- Look at that cover! 


Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (January 3) 


Why -> Um, this book has so much going for it. The main character, Cinder, is a cyborg and the synopsis sounds very Cinderella like. I love Cinderella stories. And check out that cover. Yes, covers and titles catch me. Then the synopsis. I'm guilty. 

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis (January 10) 

Why -> The whole idea of a civilization leaving Earth in hopes of terraforming a new planet is just plain intriguing. Not to mention after having read the first book, Across the Universe, I really cant' help myself. I have to see what happens next. If you have already read it then you understand.  


 Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand (January 17) 


Why -> After reading Unearthly I'm dying to find out more about Clara, Christian, and Tyler. Oh my, Tyler! If you haven't read the first book, read it! There are so many books about fallen angels, this one is different, and in a very good way.

Fracture by Megan Miranda (January 17) 


Why -> The main character Delaney was brought back after being dead for 11 minutes. Now she has special abilities that no one understands. This is so intriguing I can't wait. Plus, this is a debut book!

Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton (January 24) 

Why -> As you may have noticed by the countdown widget for this book on the side bar, I have been seriously fan girling this book since I heard about it, like 6 months ago. I think. So, the main character, Nikki, spent six months in the Everneath (underworld). Now she has six months to say goodbye to her old life before the Everneath claims her forever. I Can't Wait! And that is a seriously cool cover, btw. 

Fallen In Love (Fallen #3.5) by Lauren Kate (January 24)  


Why -> I've already read Fallen and Torment. So, as much as I'd love to read this one now, I need to read book 3, Passion, first. (It's waiting on my Kindle right now - I'm backlogged)

Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton (January 31) 


Why -> There was some serious demon butt-kicking in the first book, Angelfire. So, I'm hoping for a lot more. Plus, there's the issue of Will, the hot off-limits guy in Ellie's life. He's the perfect good-guy disguised as a bad-guy. 
  
As you can see I am about to have a serious reading backlog for this month alone. And, there are a bunch of Book #2's on the list. That's because I decided to do the Debut Author Challenge last year. I opted not to do it again, as I obviously have a lot of books to keep up with this year. 


Your Turn -> What are you looking forward to this month?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kim Harrington: Perception ARC Giveaway

Kim Harrington: Perception ARC Giveaway: Perception comes out in less than TWO MONTHS! To celebrate, I’m parting with my Perception ARC. She’s been to various places with me and ...

New Year and New Goals

Happy New Years! I know I'm a little late, but I was flying on New Years Day and the following day recouping from all that travel. It totally drained me.

Today I am getting myself back into my usual routine. As part of my recouping I found myself lounging around reading other blogs. Everyone seems to be doing the New Year's Resolution thing. I'm horrible at that. I think I said something last year at this time about querying in 2011, it didn't happen. I'm bad at following through with long term goals. So, this year I've decided to take it slow. I know what needs to be done, and I'm setting short term goals for myself with writing.

As of this moment I have edited 6 chapters in Barely There, and axed 2 of them. That leaves me with 4 completely edited. I have a long ways to go. I was hoping to have this edit done by the end of December. Obviously that will not be happening. Instead I am now shooting for the end of January. It's not as busy of a month and I should get things moving along.

I've been toying with the idea of making myself accountable by doing a post at the end of the month on my progress. I'm still not sure if I will do it or not.

I'm keeping it simple this year. I've decided on two separate goals for writing and non-writing. They are both big, yet there are only two of them. Keep me accountable people!!! ;-) 



My writing goal of the year: 
To at least be in the query stage with both Barely There and my yet-to-be-named NaNoWriMo novel. I have been toying with titles, but will probably throw them out there to my CPs when I have it edited and start having it critiqued. Hopefully they will be able to tell me which they like the best. I'm stuck between two and can't decide. Bad, bad, bad.

My at home goal of the year: To clean my house from top to bottom. This is a serious goal for me. When I have down time I either write or read, not clean. My brother-in-law is a clean freak, so naturally he doesn't visit often. And, I'm sure if my sister saw it her OCD would send her into clutter-shock. I'd love to see at least one of them fall over in shock that my house is spotless. lol

Your Turn -> How are you with goals? Do you have any?