Archive for September, 2007

REASONS TO ABANDON A STORY

I started to write IT TAKES A THIEF, I had about a paragraph, and then I stopped writing. The story didn’t have the crunch that would keep me interested. I still love the idea of an ex-thief having to confront her ex-boyfriend who is still a thief. One of these days that story will get more crunch and I’ll write it.

But then I was sitting on my couch thinking of this one story I started two years ago, about a woman who goes back home after 12 years to face her mother, and to find out why she wants to sell the family home. Of course, when she left the town she also left an ex-boyfriend. But that isn’t what made me want to write the story. This is the first line.

Half down the driveway to the home she grew up in Megan said to her assistant manager, “Think Mommie Dearest minus the wire hanger.”

I want to know what else she will be provoked to say making it hard for the writer in me to say no to this character. It was her turn to show up and live in my head for a time to get her story on the page. I’ll try my best to not name her mother Joan, but who is to say my heroine won’t slip every now and then.

So if you don’t hear from me for a while . . .

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September 28, 2007 at 2:11 pm 12 comments

TOP TEN SIGNS THAT YOU’RE A WRITING MOTHER


In the process of getting my full ready I realized I’m not a regular writer. I am a Superwriter, because when plan to sit my butt in front of a computer I must be prepared to become a crisis manager, a cook, a mediator, a referee, a screaming banshee. Here are the top ten signs that you are a writing mother.

1. You have stretch marks to prove it. And you still think it’s okay to call the extra pounds you’ve gained baby weight.

2. Quiet time? What is that?

3. In the daytime hours of your writing schedule you are interrupted to solve disputes, find socks, pour juice, cook dinner, wipe pee from toilet (this is if you have a little boy).

4. You’ve been forced to stop writing that sex scene, because your kid knows how to read and they are reading every word over your shoulder.

5. For the past month clean house has been on your to-do list

6. All your characters do not have children, because you know there is nothing romantic about someone knocking on your door asking, what are you doing? or worst what’s that noise?, when you are half naked.

7. You decide to dedicate a book to your mother, apologizing for all the things you did as a kid, and hope beyond hope that karma really doesn’t exist.

8. Your kids know the blood or fire only interruption rule.

9. You either write between the hours of 5-7 a.m. or 9-11 p.m.

10. Quiet time? What is that?

September 26, 2007 at 3:36 pm 12 comments

THE END

These things are so freaking important. I realized this when I re-read the ending for How Much You Want to Bet? It was okay. It had the happy ending feel to it, but it wasn’t the right ending for these two characters. The heroine is stubborn and opinionated, he could charm the socks off a nun. I saw none of that in the ending. God, forbid it was sappy compared to the characters. For me that was a light bulb moment. You can write an ending, but if it’s not the right way, for your characters, then it’ll fall flat or worst make you gag.

I’ve read many of books where I loved, loved, the beginning, loved the story, but the ending made me not only made me hate the book, it made me despise the writer. How could she lead me on, make me think this was going to be a great book. Damn him/her. No author wants that. I didn’t want that.

How I came about the ending is by bookending. It’s a term used by Jenny Crusie, I’m going to have to dedicate a book to this woman, but it means having your ending mirror your beginning. For instance in Agnes and The Hitman, her recent release with Bob Mayer, the book starts out in the kitchen, the last scene ends in the kitchen. It’s a cue to the reader of the ending, a type of full circle feeling. I swear by it, because it makes my ending clearer. I can see how my characters have changed over the span of the book. How they may have reacted to the same circumstances in the beginning is not how they should react at the end. The journey, yes, makes the ending believable, but if it is so out of character then it negates all the work you’ve done. Your reader stuck with you because of the characters, don’t disappoint them.

To the writers out there how do you know when you’ve written the right ending?

September 25, 2007 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

SECOND TIME AROUND

I’ve just spent five days in revision hell. I’ve added conflict when it disappeared in certain scenes, I deleted useless words, phrases, I’ve cut scenes, and the whole last chapter. And for the second time I’ve written THE END on How Much You Want to Bet? I’ve feel good about the changes I made especially the last chapter. I love that last scene.
I digress, most of the changes were bringing the novel up to speed with what I’ve learned as a writer since the first time I wrote the book. (Back in late 2005) I’m making my final run through tonight and then I’m praying to the writing and editor Gods that this book will be bought. I now know what it feels like to have someone on the other end waiting for my writing. It’s a pretty damn good feeling.

Wish me luck.

September 25, 2007 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

PSST, I HAVE GOOD NEWS

Now a few days ago I was depressed by a rejection then I was able to pull myself out of the funk. I continued to write. I worried about the other submissions, but apparently I didn’t have to. One of the publishers wants me to send them a full of my manuscript. She called my story engaging and my writing pulled her in from the beginning.

Me. I wrote something engaging.

*sigh* I don’t think my feet are touching the ground. I’m going to ride on this high for a few hours then get to work. Just a few hours.

Don’t quote me on that.

September 21, 2007 at 1:14 am 11 comments

ISN’T IT IRONIC?

People who know me, the real Melissa, know I am not what you can consider chipper, cheery, or even jovial. Most times my outlook on the future of the world is bleak. If it wasn’t illegal I’d have pegged cheerleaders with bb guns to shut them up during football games in my youth. All that rah,rah, and go, go, chants interrupted my concentration on the game. Or calling the ref a nincompoop under my breath. Even now I cannot sit in the room with my children while they are watching Sprout, Hannah Montana, or the like. It drives me bleeping crazy.

Yet, I find humor in everything and I write romance. Not sure of the connection. Or if it’s my subconscious trying to save me from myself. All this made me think of why I love I SAID NEVER and why this is the book of my heart. (The death knell for most books in this industry, but screw it, I’m still going to submit it.)

Phoenix has a bleak outlook on life and the one running theme I’m finding is that every one around her does things for her with good intentions. She hates it. She lives by the standard that good intentions paved the road to hell. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now she wasn’t a cheerleader in high school.

That’s one part of my personality I gave to my character(oh, and she hates mornings.) No, she is not a Mary Sue. I’ve never found math or conformity, comforting. That’s all Phoenix, but I do find it ironic that people who say their characters are nothing like them, really believe that lie. No matter how you try, each character you write is a part of you, is a piece of what makes you who you are. I give my characters a piece of me to understand them in the beginning. I have to see something within myself to want to write about my characters. At the half-way point all bets are off and I’m invested in the story for the simple fact I have to get to the end.

To circle back around, (or at least make this post seem like it has a purpose), do you find in your stories characters who are more like you than others (character traits)? Or more like who you used to be?

The Girls in the Basement sends you things and it’s not a coincidence. Some times you just might take you longer to realize why this story, in that moment, made you write it.

As usual a curious question.

Edited to Add: (since I refuse to do another post)

Will Write for Wine is my new addiction. Two fabulous authors, Lani Diane Rich and Samantha Graves aka C.J. Barry, have teamed up and created the funniest podcast on writing and wine and every thing else under the sun. Really listen to one with a glass of wine if you can and you’ll believe me. They’ll answer writing questions, update you on their own writing, and “D block”, as they phrased it, is alone worth listening to this podcast for. I’ll warn you though with the podcast on comedy have paramedics on hand. Why are you still reading? Go download some shows. You’ll thank me later.

September 19, 2007 at 5:36 pm 4 comments

INSPIRATION

For a writer it comes in all forms. Today for me it came in a cherry red pick-up. I’ve been mulling over how to add to I SAID NEVER. The relationship between Adam and Phoenix didn’t feel complete. In all honesty it felt shoddy in some parts. So on my way home a cherry red pick cuts me off on the freeway. I half heartily honked my horn, because I could hear Phoenix again. This woman wasn’t done yet, she wants more spotlight time.

The significance of this car is that Adam drives a pick-up, the same color, hadn’t decided on the make. The person who cut me off was driving a F150. I’m thinking Adam needs this kind of car too, because those suckers are huge. Two people with a lot of leg room could fit in the back. You can have a picnic, have wild sex, dance naked under the moon, you can take that sucker off road and go camping in it, go fishing, go hiking, have wild sex. Is there an echo?

Anyway, I saw this car and thought so why shouldn’t my characters?

My fourth book isn’t looking set in stone at the moment. Excuse me,but I have some writing to do.

September 18, 2007 at 10:26 pm 2 comments

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