Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fast Draft Conquered

I've been doing a Fast Draft challenge for the last two weeks. I took Candace Havens Fast Draft in 14 Days workshop a few years ago. At the time I don't think I was ready for the concept of blazing through a first draft so completely. But this time something clicked.

The last time I wrote a first draft quickly, though much slower than Fast Draft, was for The Beast's Redemption where the characters were constantly yelling at me to get their story down.

This time around the muse was relatively quiet. I wasn't being kept awake at night by bursts of inspiration. I had a general idea for a middle grade fantasy which came from wanting to write a middle grade fantasy about unicorns to submit to a publisher invite. A little brainstorming came up with the situation and I had been sitting on the idea for over a month - I just couldn't seem to get into gear.

Then a few ladies at one of my RWA writing chapters were talking about doing Fast Draft. At first I shied away from the idea even though I was mentally berating myself for not getting this book done or even started. The day before they started the challenge I decided to do it by getting up at 5 am every morning and having time to write before anyone else got up.

Dragging myself out of bed at 5 am wasn't always easy, but it was worth it. I averaged about 3 hours for my 20 pages a day. One day I had to stop at 10 pages after a certain little person woke up early, but every other day I wrote on whether I had any idea where I was going or not.

I think I had forgotten how to pants. And I love pantsing. My characters continuously surprised me as I went. The book seemed to evolve from a middle grade fantasy to a young adult fantasy as a new character emerged demanding equal billing with my heroine. Every morning I had no idea where they were going to take me as they were relatively quiet until I started typing.

On my eleventh day I typed The End in surprise. I had assumed I'd be going until the final day of fast draft, but my characters had finished their adventure and resolved their problem. My first draft was done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Fun of Naming

If you're following me on Facebook you probably know I am waist deep in a Fast Draft challenge right now. I'm writing twenty pages in a day to have my first draft complete in two weeks. When I started, I pulled out random names from thin air for all the characters knowing I planned on going back to change the names as needed. I'm now going back. LOL I'd been thinking off and on how I wanted the names to be when I haven't been actively writing since I have to focus on the writing then. I reached over and pulled out my trusty baby name book. And that got me to stop - I actually thought "my trusty baby name book."

I've had 35,000+ Baby Names by Bruce Lansky forever it seems like. I have two other baby name books which occasionally get pulled out, but it is this mass-market paperback which has stayed with me since 1995. Yep, about 16 years. How do I know? Because it was brand new when I went in and bought it from a Crown Bookstore. Remember those?

I've probably bought a dozen baby name books since then, very few have stayed past their initial flip through when I was pregnant both times and checking out the "new" baby name books.

This volume remains. The cover is pretty bent and mangled, pages are beginning to fall out, but it is my go to book. Even though I also frequent baby name websites A LOT, I still go to this book about fifty percent of the time. I'm not sure why beyond many a character's name has been found inside the covers. The rest of the time it is usually an online site. In fact, my favorite one is 20,000+ I love the Special Categories section and just discovered this site a little over a year ago. For my new book I wanted names which mean white, low and behold a huge list of such names within Special Categories, Colors, White. Oh, how I love the special categories section. One annoying part is all the pop ups on the site, but I am willing to keep clicking the Xs just to use it - that's how helpful and useful this site is.

Between 35,000+ and this website I am in naming bliss. What tools do you use to name your own characters?

Friday, August 12, 2011

To Pen Name Or Not to Pen Name

I currently write under two names. Angelia Almos for my young adult/middle grade fiction and nonfiction. Angie Derek for my steamier paranormal romances and romantic suspense. I decided to write under the pen name for branding purposes, but now I have a conundrum.

I have some adult novels/novellas which are almost done and in progress which are not steamy (no graphic sex) though they may be romances or contain romantic elements. So, which name do I release them under? Or do I come up with an all new pen name since they are futuristics and space operas (so far)?

My inclination is to release them under a new pen name, but that ups the anty with how much I need to produce each year with having three pen names. You want to have new releases coming out at a fairly regular basis to increase your readership.

Monday, August 8, 2011

RWAOnline Workshop - Developing Historical Character Sketches

***Permission to Forward granted and appreciated****

RWA® Online Chapter 136 Presents:

Developing Historical Character Sketches with instructor Kimberly Killion

August 10-21, 2011

About the Class:

Do you have a unique premise? Do editors and agents often comment on how interesting your plot is, but reject you because your characters fell flat? Chances are you aren’t developing your characters to their full potential. In this workshop, award-winning author and RITA nominee, Kimberly Killion, will teach you how to develop characters who jump off the page and into the reader’s mind.

Class features: lectures, examples, discussion, and an expanding worksheet. By the completion of the class, you should know your characters inside and out from the way they smell to how they curse.

About Kimberly Killion:

Award-winning author, Kimberly Killion, has been hailed by Romantic Times Magazine as an author who writes “captivating romance with excellent pacing and characters who are honorable, intelligent and full of humanity.” Her debut book, Her One Desire, was nominated for the romance-publishing industry's highest award of distinction, the RITA® Award. Her One Desire won the 2009 Booksellers Best Award for both Long Historical and Best First Book. In addition, Kimberly’s writing was recognized in the 2009 National Readers’ Choice Awards, the 2009 Golden Quill Awards, the 2009 and 2010 HOLT Medallion, and the 2010 Lories Best Published. Romantic Times Magazine awarded Kimberly’s second Scottish-set novel, Highland Dragon (Kensington 2009), with the K.I.S.S. Award and said this is “a tale to cherish.”

She is excited about her recent releases from Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Educating Aphrodite and Taming a Highland Devil. Visit her website at

Cost for the work shop is $15 for non chapter members. Chapter members take the class for free.

To learn more and register for the class, go to our Writer’s Campus page at

You need to register no later than August 9, 2011.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Social Media

Social media is an interesting creature or should I say creatures. Writers are flocking to the various social media outlets; some on their own and some at the requests of their publishers. You've got Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Blogs, Google+, Goodreads, and a heck of a lot more which I don't know a lot about.

It can become very overwhelming. I joined MySpace first which is now no longer the popular hot spot it used to be. In fact, I keep meaning to shut down my account so I guess I am still on there even though I rarely visit. Facebook followed after. Then blogging. Then twitter. Goodreads was joined somewhere in there, but I quickly forgot about it until my publisher asked me to create an account. Thankfully I already had one and got it upgraded to an author account.

Facebook is fairly easy to me, but they have that little policy about "no promotions" on your regular facebook page so if your an author and plan on using it for any marketing, promo, keeping your fans updated on what you're doing and what is coming, you are going to need to start a Business or Fan Page. I started out with one, but broke it into two under each pen name. But it can be fun. Easy way to have instant contact with your readers, family, and friends, and to see what your own fave authors are doing.

The blogging is something I try to keep up on, but am not always successful. That pesky trying to give your blog an identity thing.

Twitter. Oh how I love thee in learning stuff instantly, but how I loathe thee when it actually comes time to post stuff. I'm still working on my twitter identity.

I just got onto Google+ and honestly have no idea what to do with it. 

I regularly check out the programs that promise to help you manage your social media sites all in one location. Any recommendations?

So, how do you use social media? Hook up with friends? Connect with like minded people? Follow your favorite celebrities, sports figures, authors, etc.?