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Showing posts from January, 2010

Letting Your Baby Go

Yep, it's that time, Red Hot Fairy Tale is off in cyber space on it's way to the editor of the anthology call I wrote it for. Letting your baby go can be the most difficult part. Truthfully, you could edit and edit and edit and edit and never let it go. Something could always be found to be "fixed" whether the fixes actually make it better is debatable. On the other side of the coin is when you send it off before it's really ready because you are anxious to be done and send it out into the word.

Striking that right balance can be difficult. For me, with this one, it was a date, I had to have it written, edited, and sent off by a certain date so that took some of the pressure of is it too edited or not edited enough out of the process. But I've been on the other side, sending something that I later discovered wasn't ready to have gone out and also editing something for so long that it lost that spark that it originally had.

How do you know when your baby i…

Fear

Fear is something I was thinking a lot about yesterday. namely, my own fear. As the deadline for Red Hot Fairy Tales loomed I have become more and more stressed. I finally admitted my fear to my husband last night who asked "Will it be ready in time for the deadline?" Yes, it will, he was then confused on what I was afraid of. I had to explain that it was the fear of letting my baby go. This book has been a stretch for me both in the short length and in attempting to write "hot". LOL. Or I should say, just going with the hot instead of my normal, nah, it's too early in the book for that. I got rid of that little voice on page 10.

I found myself working on taxes on Monday and Tuesday, why? Because I had to take my mind off it. The book is done and out with beta readers to catch anything I missed. But I couldn't stop obsessing. I know enough about myself that I couldn't start a new book, just yet, so what do I do. Taxes. Ack. I gotta get a more interestin…

Storytellers You Admire

After watching the profile on Nancy Meyers I began to think about storytellers that I admire and why.

Carrie Fischer is someone who's led shall we say an interesting life and it shows in the work she's produced. She's written books, screenplays, and been a script doctor. I've always found inspiration from the interviews she's given on writing and creating. She is one smart and funny lady.


Stephen Sommers wrote, okay adapted, two of my favorite movies. The Adventures of Huck Finn (my fave film as a teen) and The Mummy. The Mummy is still one of my favorite romantic adventures. Movie makers and writers should note from that movie how to weave in a realistic romance into a straight action movie (so many movies do it so badly and this is one of the few that got it right). Interestingly, the original script the romance felt more forced and I wonder what changed between the original script and the final product. Was it the actors? A rewrite? The direction? Yes, I actually…

Revision Draft Done

I finished my revision of Red Hot Fairy Tale last night. I cut out 8,000 words and added in the three missing scenes. I still have another 510 words to cut as I read it in my paper draft. Making this story fit 25,000 words has been such an interesting and wonderful learning experience. I'm so glad I decided to write for this anthology call as I'm taking so much away just from the process. My paper draft is currently being spit out by the printer and I'll go over it today catching all those things that we don't catch on the computer screen as well as looking for spots I can loose another 500 words.

Why a paper draft? Well, for me, I have to do my final edit on paper as I will find mistakes. Mostly incorrect word choice that I just scan over in my most careful reading on the computer screen. Someone told me that every writer should do that, but I'm always wary of rules for "every writer". So, I'm curious do all of you do your final edit (or other edits)…

When Life Gets in the Way of the Flow

So, life keeps getting in the way, I'm happily editing along and I have to stop to run the kiddos to an activity. Oh, why oh why, I cry in my head. Things are flowing. It's all coming together and I have to stop for life. Ack. And sure enough I can't get out of the book the entire time I'm driving. It's not that I'm editing, plotting, or writing in my head, it's that I'm stuck in my character's heads. They won't let me be and truthfully I don't want them to let me be. I want them to stay with me as intense as they are.

Do you have days like that? The muse is with you, your characters are living and breathing over your shoulder, and you CAN'T work. Oh, the frustration just climbs as you run you errand, make chit chat with people (some of them are friends), but you aren't really there, your stuck in your book. You race home hoping that they haven't abandoned you and in this case they haven't and you can pick up right where you …

Writing the Darn Love Scenes

So, I'm deep into my edits of my Red Hot Fairy Tale, and I have to say I'm really liking my characters. As I'm revisiting them they are just growing on me more and more. He's so flipping sexy and she's spunky and fun and doesn't take sh** from the hero. Ah, the torture I'm gonna have to put them through, I almost feel sorry for them, LOL. And I've discovered, I gotta write another sex scene, sigh, the work never ends. LOL

Sometimes they just come to me and other times I can't help but think, shoot I've already had them do it do I really need to describe it again. LOL. I think I need to go read some other sexy books and look for some inspiration cause I got to the next sex scene and went, yeah, I'll take care of that later. I'm having too much fun with their sniping at each other. Plus, I'm getting to the part where the heroine finally gets to be one step ahead of the hero. LOL

Yes, I'm amused tonight. Not sure why, but I am.

Blog Interview at Avid Readers Who Write

Elizabeth Fortin interviewed me for her blog, Avid Readers Who Write, swing on by and say hi.

Avid Readers Who Write

The Pros of Rewriting

So, I said I'd talk about another element of editing/revising today. Rewriting - when you're doing more than fixing dialogue tags, spell checking, etc. You need to be careful not to edit or revise the life out of your manuscript, but sometimes something just isn't working the way you wrote it. It could be a scene, a chapter, a whole section of the book, or even the entire book itself. What do you do when this happens?

I've had a couple of instances where this occurred and I was able to fix the problem by rewriting instead of trying to edit or revise.

My mafia romantic suspense had this occur with the beginning. I had written out the first two chapters and enrolled in a novel course. Through the pre-work the instructor had me do on character development, plot development, etc. I decided that I didn't like the first two chapters. I evaluated them, pulled out a couple of pages of dialogue and scrapped the rest. The dialogue was pulled out more for the information it g…

Editing or Revising The Work

Every writer seems to have their own method of revising/editing. Some revise as they write, redoing the chapter before they start fresh or going back to change something to relate to something new they wrote. Some dump out their first draft and then have various stages of revision that they go through. Others just kind of jump into revision blindly. And I know there are many more methods.

I fall into the second category. I prefer to write my first drafts fast. I've mentioned before if I don't know something I'll put a note in CAPS within the manuscript and keep going. Those are what I tackle in my first go thru which I try to do on the computer. Filling in the blanks is how I look at it. I also fix dialogue tags. Move and clarify description and action (description being my enemy). But the basics stay the same. The dialogue might be tweaked a little bit, picking a better word here and there, and pulling out back story character description dumps that were for my benefit (n…

Research Can Be Fun

So, I sat down to get the background info I need for my Red Hot Fairy Tale. What I already knew:

Takes place in a major city like New York. The offices of the company are in a big high rise, a really nice high rise that is more than the company should be spending on offices. The heroine lives in a nice apartment complex within walking distance and must have a doorman. The heroine's sisters go to a boarding prep school and Ivy League college that are within a couple hours drive of the city. The company was originally located in a rural community an hour to a couple of hours outside of the city in a very pretty area. The hero is staying in a super nice hotel near the offices of the company.The hero has purchased a house within two hours drive of the city that sits on a lot of wilderness.

So, I start out with trying to find the company location. I switch the city to San Francisco as I feel it will match the company better (and I know more about the surrounding area). I search busines…

The Joy of Naming Characters

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I'll be doing in my rewrite is naming all my secondary characters, a few companies, and finding the perfect last name for my heroine. I'm usually pretty methodical when it comes to naming my characters. I keep a name sheet for each and every character that is assigned a name as well as three letter lists.

A letter list is where I keep track of the first letter of all the first names, last names, and first and last names. Why do I do this? Well, it started with trying to make sure that the names of different characters weren't to confusing for the reader. If you have an Andrea and Amber who are secondary characters it's easier for the reader to mix them up versus if you have an Andrea and Candace.

Now, sometimes I do want characters to have the same letter name or the names sound different enough that I don't worry if the first letter is the same.For instance, in one story I specifically named the siblings Andrew, Am…

First Draft Done

Sorry, I haven't been here in a couple of days, I've been cramming on finishing up the first draft of my Red Hot Fairy Tale. When I get close to the end, I can't think of or really do anything else as it just takes control. I just wrote the final sentence, WOO HOO!!!, it always feels good to finish up that first draft. I'm already anxious to go back and implement some things that I noted while working (and didn't allow myself to go back and rewrite). But I'm gonna let it sit for at least today, LOL, I've got two weeks to polish it up to get it to Samhain by the deadline.

So, to pose a question, what do you do in preparation of polishing and fixing a first draft? My current plan is to read a couple of my fave books to study how the authors wrote certain types of descriptive passages before I go back in and fix those parts. Then I'll do a read through to look for the plot holes. I know they are there, but I'll need the overall picture to catch them an…

Writing to A Target Market

So, as some of you may know I am currently writing a novella to a targeted market. I found an anthology call with an e-publisher and decided to try my hand at it. So far it has been an interesting and fun experience. I spent a day researching the subject matter and began to panic as I went through fairy tale after fairy tale trying to find something that was familiar, but not to famous. I did find one and began working on the idea in my head, but another idea based on a super famous fairy tale just kept butting in and insisting that I listen to it. I finally gave up that night and allowed her to tell me her story and the hero to tell me his (I didn't get a lot of sleep that night as they would not shut up). What's funny is I still fought it the next morning. I kept insisting that I didn't want to do a famous fairy tale, but this time it was my hero that wouldn't shut up. He wanted his story told. I'm now almost at the required word count though still have several k…

Getting Back On The Horse

So, how do you get back on the horse so to speak? This week hasn't been the most consistent, with family visiting, getting back into a schedule after the holidays, and an illness striking the house for a couple of days, all of those things (or excuses LOL) added up to a couple days of not meeting my word count goals.

Today I got caught up while grandpa took big daughter to a movie and grandma played with little daughter. This gave me a big block of time that I could sit and focus and thankfully I followed through and did write instead of the usual procrastination activities.

If you find yourself behind, do you just give up and let the pattern continue? Do you add a little bit to each day to get caught up eventually? Do you shake off those bad days and just start fresh? Do you do a marathon session to make up the time lost?

In the past, I've either used it as an excuse to throw up my hands and give up for an extended period of time, or start fresh with new goals or deadlines f…

Flus, Colds, and Viruses Oh My!

So, what do you do when those germs and viruses hit your home? Do you take time off from your writing or do you shoulder through the icky feeling to get those words on paper?

Ours started yesterday at one in the morning when little daughter woke up throwing up. Needless to say a very long night for me. Thankfully she was on the mend by morning and seemed pretty well recovered by the late evening. I was able to get a bit of writing done while she slept for several hours during the afternoon and also while sitting with her and watching My Little Pony over and over again. :-)

But today I woke up with a sore throat and upset stomach. Thankfully it hasn't progressed past that, but I'm worried about tomorrow. I got a lot done on my nonfiction project today as it didn't really require a lot of creative thinking, but so far I haven't even attempted to work on my Red Hot Fairy Tale.

Crossing fingers and knocking on wood that tomorrow everyone in the house is back to feeling no…

Murder, She Wrote

So, who here remembers the classic writer's show Murder, She Wrote starring Ms. Angela Lansbury? The show was on from 1984-1996 and several TV movies followed in 1997-2003. I grew up on Murder, She Wrote (Father Dowling Mysteries followed as a close second in my families favorite TV shows to watch together).

For those that never watched, MSW featured the mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher who solved a murder once a week. The joke became that it probably wasn't good to consider Jessica as a friend, because you would either be murdered or accused of committing a murder and Jessica would rush in to solve the crime. I recently rewatched the final seasons of MSW on Netflix and was quickly sucked into the various cases that Jessica solved. Some of my favorite episodes revolved around her trying to meet a deadline for a book, either to write or revise, and someone getting knocked off and completely interrupting her schedule. :-)

What about you? What's your favorite TV show or movi…

Keeping on Track

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So, how is everyone doing with their writing goals? Are you sticking to each of them or a couple of them?

I'm doing good with my main goal. I missed my writing time yesterday and it bugged me all day. Even though I scheduled missed days into my writing goals (a tip I learned this year) I couldn't stop thinking about it. I got on a couple of times to start it, but had things (life, LOL) pull me away. I feel better as I got my daily word goal today so am back on track.

But I'm having a much harder time with my secondary projects goals. It's not that I'm not working on it. I have, but it's much more sporadic, like once a week, and that is not enough according to my projecting finish date. It bugs me when I think about it. So, I'm thinking I'm going to need to restructure this goal or come up with some sort of incentive to really make me put in my daily page goals with this one.

My nonfiction goals haven't been as steady or hit and miss. I took a coupl…

Sharing the Joy

Another element of finding others who share in your passion - people that can understand your steps forward and triumphs. Only another writer can really understand the huge step sending out your first query is, getting your first short story accepted in a magazine, getting an article or column in your local paper, getting a partial request from an agent, etc.

They get it. Someone who shares your passion knows the work that it takes for each step that you accomplish. They get excited with and for you when you let them in on your good news.

On my first partial request from an agent, I immediatly emailed a writer friend before I told anyone else, why? Because I knew she would get it. She would understand what it means. I then told my husband, LOL, and he congratulated me, but didn't really understand what that meant.

Keep those people around you that can not only share and help you through the struggles, but that can pat you on the back and say good job when you email off that query…

Talking With Other Writers

I had an interesting conversation with several other homeschooling moms today. The conversation revolved around the things that we tend to worry about and surprise, surprise, we tend to worry about much of the same stuff. You know it's good to talk to others who participate in an activity similar to your own not only for a sense of not being completely and utterly alone, but also because you begin to realize that others have gone through what you're going through and survived.

Whether you're the person making assurances to someone else or that person is making assurances to you, it's a relief to know that at least one other person has found "this" challenging, difficult, hard, etc. This can apply to all areas of your life whether it's being a parent, a homeschooler (referencing what brought this topic up), or as a writer.

Talking to someone who has been through something you are currently struggling with can give you the fortitude to carry on. Or it can s…

Finding Anthology Calls

Someone asked how I find anthology calls and other submission calls, so I thought I'd share how I found the ones I am planning on submitting to. Basically, the old fashioned way, I looked up each publisher's submission guidelines and found them listed there. I have in the past seen calls listed on various writers blogs, but honestly I didn't save them because at the time I wasn't too interested. Now I am. If you know of any easier ways to find out about submission and anthology calls from legitimate publishers (a concern expressed by one of my blog readers) I would love to know about them.

I do know of one email list, the Creative Writing Opportunities Group, that posts submission calls. I'm not sure if they vet the calls so it is always wise to double check every publisher you consider submitting to if you have not already heard about them.

Here are the ones that I learned of in my recent search of romance publishers (I freely admit that I have just started looki…

Anthology Calls

This year I'm trying something completely different with my writing. I've always written where the muse took me. In the last couple of years I've learned to see a project through even as the muse went on vacation and taunted me, but I always started with the muse.

I was double checking the submission guidelines for an e-publisher that I was interested in possibly submitting a WIP to and I read over a call for submissions for an anthology they are putting together. I've seen them in the past, but usually didn't pay very much attention if I didn't already have something written along those lines. But for some reason this time I stopped and read over the guidelines carefully and wondered about writing something specifically for this anthology. I then did what I do best, I started researching. I pulled up other publishers website looking for other "calls for submission" and I actually found several that had other anthology or novella calls. All of which a…

Looking Forward Into a Year of a Writer

Most of the writers I know are either posting their 2010 Goals (we don't call them resolutions as those are too easy to break) or are choosing to not set any for the upcoming year. A few like me, haven't really finalized our goals for the year. I have some concrete ones and some vague ones. If you're looking on how to set realistic writer goals or have set goals in the past, but always found you ended up giving up on them I would highly suggest you stop by Dean Wesley Smith's Blog and start at Motivation #1 and work your way forward. He actually has practical suggestions for actually reaching your goals instead of just those hazy thoughts or if you're like me, setting completely unrealistic goals which you will not be able to meet and then you get discouraged because you didn't meet them. If you're looking to take your writing (or even life) to the next level I'd suggest swinging by Bob Mayer's Warrior Writer website and check out one of his online …