Archive for August, 2007

BOOK LOVER aka book addict

Most if not all other writer’s say if you want to write you better read. If I never write another fictional word I can tell you I won’t ever stop reading. I love words. There is no other compulsion besides writing that I love more. If you don’t get a rush when you walked into a book store then you don’t know what I’m talking about. If your ideal Christmas or Birthday gift has never been a gift certificate to B&N or Borders then this post has lost you. If you never bargained with yourself before you walked into a book store, telling yourself you’ll only spend X amount of dollars, then you’ll never understand.

But that’s okay, because I can convert you eventually. I’ve damn near converted my whole family and the people who work with me. I’ve donated books for the cause. I’ve parted with Robert B. Parker’s, Jennifer Crusie’s, Sue Grafton’s, Jude Deveraux’s, John Sandford’s, just to make people understand. (All with threats to bodily harm if they thought I didn’t want the books back.) If you didn’t notice Nora Roberts wasn’t part of the cause. I’ll be damned to part with La Nora. I can direct those who’ve (God forbid) never heard of her to the library. And if her name doesn’t ring a bell then there is no hope for humanity.

And not so sadly I can admit that in 5 years all but once I’ve thrown away books. Let me tell you it was the hardest thing I had to do. I comforted myself with the knowledge that the books were unreadable. If they had more than ten pieces of tape holding the pages and book together than the book needed to be retired. Still the hardest thing I had to do.

I can also attest to the fact the main reason I’m going to next year’s conference is for the BOOKS. The side benefit is meeting and talking to writers. But trust me when I say I’m bringing empty luggage next year.

I am a confessed book lover. Don’t hate me because I’m literate.

Have a great three day weekend. I’m sure you can guess what I’ll be doing.

August 31, 2007 at 2:10 pm 2 comments

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

I’m sure when you looked at this image words, feelings, and maybe smells cropped up in your brain and it made you think of a rainy day. If you ever lived where tornado season is a season within itself this picture probably took you back to days where you had to sleep in a bath tub or an underground shelter. (With me, my mom had us sleeping in the tub.)

Well, anyway, last night having fought exhaustion from work, school, and 105 degree weather, I turned on my swamp cooler and could smell rain. The best way I can describe it is through my own memories. It’s a smell I recognize and put with elementary school. Days of playing Chinese jump rope, double dutch, and easily made best friends. Rain to me smells like wet blacktop, reminds me of connect four, checkers, and squeaky shoes. In my mind I can see blurry chalk lines of hop scotch games, bold white lines painted on asphalt, and muddy grass. I get all this from one smell.

Sensory details are so important in bringing a reader into your story. It’s probably why I love Nora Roberts. After I read the first three pages of JEWELS OF THE SUN, I was hooked. I was in Ireland and experiencing it just like Jude Francis the character in that book.

I want to achieve the same thing. So far only my CP and my Mom have traveled down the journey of how I see the world through memories i.e. sensory details.

The point of this post, let your stories come alive. And for me, today is going to be a good day as I think about my days in elementary. Nothing like the smell of rain to make me remember how good and simple things can be.

August 30, 2007 at 3:43 pm 2 comments

BURNING UP THE SHEETS

Well, something I wrote got me thinking about sex scenes. One nifty bit of advice I learned not to long ago from Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer is to think of a sex scene as a scene that has sex in it. I know it’s just a play on words but it makes all the difference. I have scenes in my book where my characters are talking over coffee, searching for a culprit, and burning up the sheets.

Why is it important to realize the last example needs to have conflict just like any other scene? Because gratuitous sex is bad. May not be in real life, but in a romance, especially a romance, that scene better have a purpose.

What I’ve found to work for me is to write the scene, write the scene after it and look at the whole picture. What happened before they had sex to lead them there? What changed or what can I see changed between them after they had sex? In my head I see the scene as body language. What are the character’s not saying verbally but are saying in how they interact and move. Does the heroine take complete control and does the hero allow her? How does that differ when they actually have clothes on? How can I show and maintain characterization in this scene? How can I deepen it?

The answers vary from character to character and what point the h/h are in their relationship, the level of trust they have, who’s realized their in love first, and what makes this time different than all the others.

A sex scene isn’t just about sex. Go ahead and let the hero insert tab A into tab B and see if I’m wrong. I’ll wait . . .okay I won’t, but comment if you want to add or argue.

Yes, you already know writing isn’t easy.

August 29, 2007 at 5:54 pm 8 comments

KNEE-DEEP IN PLOTTING

I know it may seem ass backwards to outline, write the synopsis, figure out plot points, after you’ve written the book, at least to the plotters out there. For me it makes logical sense. How else will I know how to tighten my story if I don’t know what happens when?

I’ve said this before, I treat my novel like a road map of my story. It’s far from being done once I write THE END.

So what am I doing now?

I had my mother buy me the 300 pack of index cards. I’ve written down the catalyst for my novel and pinned it to my cork board to remind myself why I wrote the book in the first place. I’m 127 pages in and my hands are crapping from all the notes I’m taking. But the most important ones are the turning points and what I call the minor turning points.

The trick I learned is to write around those BIG moments in the book, where something HUGE happens to the character. They might not know it but they can’t turn back, they can’t be who they used to be. Phoenix’s first minor turning point is deciding to go back home for her mother’s funeral. Once she steps foot out her car her life will never be the same. She won’t feel the same about herself, and her journey to the fourth and final turning point is already set in stone and she can’t stop it. Hell, she doesn’t even know it’s coming. The first major turning point is the funeral. I won’t get into detail, but something inside Phoenix shifts after she sees her mother dead.

With that I’m in the strange place of revising. I have to be objective, (when to cut scenes or flesh them out) yet at the same time I still have to hear my character’s voice. I may have to plug in scenes that I missed on my rush to the end and I can’t do that if I can’t feel my character anymore. It’s a strange limbo type of feeling.

What’s complete objectivity? When I’m sending my book out the door to publishers as something saleable.

Oh, a little sidebar. It’s kind of hard to edit a sex scene when your 3 year old son is trying to sit in your lap.

Who said writing was easy?

August 28, 2007 at 4:22 pm 2 comments

MIDDLE NAME MEME

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My middle name is Roynice and boy is this going to be hard.

R- Easy for romance the genre I lurve.

O- For Opulent. I just like that word because it’s a mouth full and I looked it up in the dictionary it means:ostentatiously rich and luxurious. One day I hope to both.

Y-For yearning. I yearn for a better life my kids and myself. If not monetary wise, (of course it would be nice.) but in life.

N-For never. I’m never going to give up writing.I’m never going to give up on myself and I’m never going to give up on finding the right guy who doesn’t think I’m crazy for wanting to spend hours in front of my computer talking to myself.

I-Intelligent. Hey, I have an ego to feed.

C-Classic for all the things I love that stood the test of time like Victorian furniture. Have you seen an authentic Victorian style couch. Oh, classically beautiful. Or it can mean my car which is 15 years old. I think I only have five more years and technically I can call it classic.

E-Ethereal, something I’m not but I try to be but then again I would no longer be neurotic. What’s the fun in normalcy?

Now for tagging other people. I pick Mel-O-Drama, Bad Dates, Allie Boniface(go check out her book, ONE NIGHT IN BOSTON), Michelle Willingham(check out her website she’s a great writer with a new book out in stores now), and hopefully I’ve spelled their names right. I’m going by memory here.

Now I need to tell them they’ve been tagged.

August 28, 2007 at 1:13 am 3 comments

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

Yesterday I received in the mail the post card I sent off with my submission. This waiting stuff never gets any easier. I’m mentally crossing my fingers. I hope the editor loves it and she can talk her senior editor into loving it.

But it’s out of my control. The only thing I can control is how much ice I’m going to put in my rum and coke.

August 27, 2007 at 11:46 pm 1 comment

SWEAT UPDATE, part tres

I’m glad to announce last night I wrote THE END on my fourth novel and being who I am I’ve made small revisions up to chapter 4. Given there are close to 20 chapters I have a ways to go. But I officially have 70k words just shy of my 100k word goal. Once again I must say I kick ass. Now for the hard part, revising.

Revising is one of the most hair pulling process of writing for me. It the process where craft meets creativity. To be completely frank the first draft is pulling a rabbit out of my, well, I’m b-sing my way half way through the novel. My father sells real estate so it’s kind of ingrained into my genetics to make things up as I go.

When I’ve written THE END I finally have a map of my story. I can be honest and say this is my downfall. I still have yet to convince myself what I’ve written isn’t set in stone, but that’s another post.

Now, theoretically, I know who my character’s are, their role, their upbringing, each main character’s motivation, how they arc in the story line and why I was meant to write this story at this time in my life. I just have to find it out of 70, 000 words of gibberish that resembles a book. At this point I’m turning Audrey Hepburn into a lady.

This is the time for me where I break out the charts, attack my cork board and put down plot points i.e. turning points, where I buy a lifetime supply of index cards and record what happened in each chapter to make sure my pacing isn’t off, make sure I left clues to who really committed the crime, make sure there is sexual tension, conflict. Last but not least,I have to fix all the sentences that makes absolutely no sense. The ones where I ask myself if I’d been drinking that particular night. Sticking in words I could swear on Holy Bible I put in. I mean “the Holy Bible.”

See the crux?

But now at least the rabbit is safe until my next novel.

August 24, 2007 at 10:12 pm 7 comments

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