Archive for November, 2008

Being Slapped Upside The Head With A Lightbulb

You know I’m really going to miss going to classes. I get so much writing done.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that I finally know how to fix Getting Over Mr. Wrong. This is the novel I plan to tackle on the first. This 20k train wreck has been sitting on my computer since March. At the time I didn’t know how in the hell to fix what was wrong with this novel. A lot of it had to do with not wanting to write anymore, period. The other half is that I knew in my gut I was going down the wrong path with this story.

The blessing and the curse that comes with a straight contemporary is that it rides on conflict and conflict alone. Yes, I know all books need this one essential element, but I’m here to tell you it’s VERY obvious when you don’t have it in a straight contemporary. Romantic suspense–pfft–the dead body, or the serial killer can provide you with what can be missing. A romantic adventure can stall without it, but then you have the treasure, clock ticking to beat the bad guy to help guide you through.

But a contemporary lacking true conflict, glares like a big ass laser, repeatedly, directly, into your sensitive retina.

Sorry I got sidetracked…

I need to thank Debra Nixon, or whatever her name is who started the Goal, Motivation, Conflict craze. Me, sitting in my Litigation class–and hopefully my teacher doesn’t read my blog–I wrote out my characters’ name and their GMC. The hero’s was easy. And then I started on the heroine. All I had at the top of the page was the heroine’s name and her occupation. Nothing I thought to write down locked into what the hero’s GMC would be. This is the one thing I need in order to keep writing on a story–the hero and heroine have to be at odds. Where I was headed in this story the heroine was already half in love with the hero, and the hero was going to fix all the heroine’s problems. THE END. A boring ass story, far from what it started out to be.

So, I did something I don’t normally do–I started to think. It hurt at first, but then I got used to the strain. I kept thinking about how could what the heroine needed conflict with what the hero needed. I really looked like I was paying great attention to what the teacher was saying. A plus for me–unless of course he’s reading the blog now…

And then like the post title, a lightbulb slapped me upside the head. The heavens opened, beaming down rays of light and the chorus of people song that high note “aahhh”. I now know the path this story needed to go down. My heroine shall exact her revenge on the male species. It’s a simple, tried, true brillant idea. A woman scorned, but since it’s a romance I must make her fall in love. She’s going to hate me. And this is usually the sign a book will be going very well from here on out.

*le sigh* I’m going to totally kick this books ass now. Can’t wait for the first.

November 27, 2008 at 8:25 am 6 comments

If Being a Nerdy Dork Could Win You A Prize…

Then I would totally win.

For some odd reason, maybe due to eight full hours of sleep, I woke up at 4:30 this here morning. I started to toil on Everything You Need. I cut the first chapter without flinching. I’m tweaking said WIP and then I started twitching. I’d just cut twelve pages of wonderful (but useless) prose for goodness sakes. I needed a pick me up. And then I remembered I could turn my little NaNo bar purple. (My favorite color) So I ditch my WIP and go online.

nano_08_winner_viking_100x100

And, yes, I’ve filled and printed out my Winner Certificate. It’s going up next to the print out of my book covers AND my paralegal certificate when I get that one in May. This year I refused to lose NaNo for a third time and I won.

All I can say is look out Sven.

And, I’m totally a nerdy dork.

November 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm 5 comments

More Time Pondering: Goals for December 31st

A while back I checked out where I stood with my yearly goals. I can say my learning arc this year hit me square between the eyes and wasn’t exactly on the list. But that’s not the point of this post.

My goals for December 31st:

1. Finish Getting Over Mr. Wrong–60,000 words

There is just something about this story that keeps drawing me back to it. I have a loosely written synopsis for it that I’ll have to scratch, but the story is there buzzing in my head. It’s mainly Savanah that is whispering in my ear. She wants to prove herself to her family and to herself. Plus it has a good hook. This is the story I hope to start writing on the 1st for the Sven writing Challenge. If I write 2k a day I can be done on by the New Year. Hopefully, writing the final words as 2009 pops its head out.

*Can’t be sure, but I think I made a goal of writing 300 words a day. That equals 109,500 words. Just counting the mss I completed, I’ve met my goal. (116,000 words and that’s just from July ’til now)

2. Edit Brice and Hazel’s story.

A lovely person who shall remain nameless went through this ms. It’s also been more than 6 weeks since I looked at it. I’m ready to tear this story a new orifice and make it all nice and shiny. I think what’s truly different this time is that I have a plan on how to revise this story. I’m not hesitant to cut the first chapter and rewrite it from scratch. This will definitely go on my “what I’ve accomplished” list–I’ve finally learned how to truly revise.

Anyway, since the story is only 30k, it won’t take me long to go through it. I’ll attack 15-20 pages a day and that should wrap it up by the first. I’m kind of looking forward to it.

3. Since I’m an overachiever when it comes to my writing…’cause trust me in real life I’m the laziest person you would ever meet…I want to revise Jorja’s story.

This revision I’m dreading. This is the story that got me out of my writing and personal funk. I might as well consider it my first novel at how craptastic it is. BUT, I absolutely adore this heroine. She has the wit, snark and spunk that I want all my heroine’s to have. It’s also one of those strange writer crazy things that will make me dedicate any time to this story-Jorja deserves it. So does her friend Tracy who is demanding a POV in third person. (The story is in first at the moment) And the hero wants more time to check out his Big Beautiful Woman.

We’ll see with the last one.

Off to ponder some more.

How is your NaNo going? Given up? Still Going? Think everyone who participated is insane anyway?

November 23, 2008 at 6:20 am 5 comments

Give A Girl Free Time and She Ponders

First, yes, I’m still alive. My brain is intact again. I’ve even considered revising Hazel and Brice’s story until the 1st. *’cause I can’t wait that long to start on the next story. My mojo is still buzzing.*

I’ve been thinking about what really makes an author’s career. Funny it was the theme I learned at RWA–Author Branding. I’m not talking platform or promotion. I’m talking about what I will be known for writing i.e. the type of stories I write.

“Romance with snark” is my tagline. I just liked the sound of it when I picked it, but it really does define my stories. You won’t get a picture perfect heroine from me. She won’t be willowly. She won’t be made of sugar. Okay, she’ll be a smartass or have a friend who will be. The hero will take as good as he gets. Yes, you’ll have emotion, but it won’t be sappy by no means. That’s what I write. That’s what I’m promising my readers. That’s my brand.

What does all this mean?

Think of books like people. You meet a person. You get that first impression and that impression is going to make them love or hate you *or reserve judgment*. The next time you meet them they give you the same impression. Now lets say that third meeting they act completely different. You start to wonder if this person was on meds. You are going to be wary of the next meeting. Worse case scenario–you meet this person a fourth time and it’s nothing like the first three meetings. You are going to veer way left every time you see this person coming. They’re not stable.

Now how can this make or break your career?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the same with your books. Your career will be built on your previous books. It’s why when author changes genre or even their sub-genre they change their name. One example of this is Samantha Graves *hi, Sam*. Under this name she writes romantic suspense. Under her C.J. Barry name she writes futuristics/SF romance.

When you change what you write you might as well write under a different name. You will be changing your fanbase with each book. Some people will stay with you and others will veer way left when they see your book coming.

Okay for those in the back who are shaking their head, unbelieving, let me give you some names:

Nora Roberts
Carly Phillips
Mary Higgins Clark
Jennifer Crusie
Meg Cabot

Think of all the books they have and then think of why you pick these authors. Or, have you ever found yourself saying, “I’m in a {insert whatever author’s name here} mood.”

That’s brand baby.

Have you thought about yours?

Are you completely against this idea?

Hash it out in the comments.

November 20, 2008 at 7:49 am 13 comments

Dude!

One crazy goal.

One crazy writer.

 One finished manuscript at 50,180 words.

I rocked NaNo’s socks this year.

And, yes, my brain in fact does hurt. Talk amongst yourself. I need a nap.

November 17, 2008 at 7:17 am 7 comments

Confessions of a Romance (YA?) Author

It’s been, what, a week? I have no grasp on time onlyconfessional1 word count, since I’ve last confessed. For the I-told-you-so’s in the back *Cynthia*–hush. I’m still able to write sentences.

It’s been 30, 874 words since I last confessed….

I’m thinking in scene sequence though. So guard your loins and read on. It won’t be pretty…It has a Joss Whedon ending….

*Melissa wakes up and makes tea.*

*Melissa writes more dreck and calls herself triumph when she makes morning word goal of 600 words. Only 8k more to go.*

*Melissa notices wet substance coming out of her left ear. Fear sinks it’s teeth into her gut. It has happened*

*Brain leakage!*

Scene two:

*Melissa makes it to work with a different pair of shoes on each foot, a shirt stained with more brain leakage, and a zombie like smile*

*Melissa locks office door. “Must get to THE END.” Her motivation is simple in this scene: Hopes boss doesn’t come in while she’s typing. And not to ruin keyboard with the riptide coming out of both ears now*

*Sometime during lunch, heroine takes a break. Puts cotton in her ears. By now her eyes have a zombie like glaze to them. “Must Get To THE END!!!”*

*Twitter’s word count. Doesn’t realize she’s only typed “#*$($#(!*#&$” Melina and Karen become concerned.*

Segue into next day…

Scene Three…

* Heroine wakes up. Her hair looks like something a bird lives in. Her children whisper behind their hands, “Mommy, looks strange. Let’s not fight today. She has the look.”*

*By lunch time Melissa is sobbing over keyboard “There is no end in sight. All I wanted to do was finish a book for NANO. I wanted to win. I didn’t want egg on my face this year. The YA idea was incredible. I had to write it. But WHY, OH, WHY THE HUMANITY.*

*Children are now hidden safely in the room*

*Twitters “All…most…done…must..finish…”

*With no brain left for coherent thought, heroine finishes story. Goes back to read the first chapter.*

Segue to next day…

Narrative voice sounds over novel pages: Melissa Blue was fine until she read her novel. She ran out into the streets screaming “THE HORROR!” Her writing friend *Cynthia* predicted her head explosion. Melissa Blue will be remembered for her foolhardy feat. And taught as a tale of caution for all those who NaNo.

November 14, 2008 at 5:47 am 8 comments

Getting To The End Never Gets Easier

I find it amazing that I was able toWoman holding typewriter.finish my first novel. It was my first attempt at writing which also makes it rare. I think what got me to the end was ignorance. I knew very little about writing. When I learned a lot, getting to the end got harder. When I got down the basics (POV, conflict or more accurate the fact you were supposed to have some, characterization and the like), it became a feat to write THE END. When I discovered publishing, well I didn’t finish anything for months.

So, I’ve been trying to figure out what gets me to the end. I’m one of the few writers who loves beginnings. Yes, mine are fraught with issues, but I love getting to know new people. I love that intial journey. Who they are, what they can be, and what they need to learn.

Different story when it’s time to actually get on that road. Some of that old enthusiasm disappears into the ether. That’s when it gets really hard. I start to wonder if this dreck is worth spending however long it’s going to take to finish it. That’s when the crows of doubt land on my shoulder and start pointing out, “Exposition” “Backstory” “Um, you’re supposed to have conflict, ya know” “You need to do hours, upon hours of research before you write another word” which is always followed by “Wikipedia!” I can conquer this by turning my music up louder.

Sometime after this point things get confusing. I don’t know what happens inside my brain that gets me from this point to THE END. I don’t even have working theories.

Tell me yours or are you just as confused about what gets you to THE END of a story.

November 12, 2008 at 4:51 pm 14 comments

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