Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
While studying where I wanted to add this second character's pov, I realized he'd have ch. 2, maybe 5 or 6 and then 10. I also realized after rereading the revised chapters that I'd lost a lot of the MC's voice which was one of the things I really, really wanted to keep.
I also realized third person just wasn't the POV for this novel. First person is just better for the story. And like I said at the Let's Write a Novel...Together! blog, the story is the most important thing.
So, I saved the third person chapters in a seperate file and now I'm feeling confident in my choice of POV.
Sometimes it just takes a while to figure out which POV works best. So, when you wonder if you made the right choice, play with it a bit. See which works best. You aren't stuck with your original choice.
Now, off to ponder where I'm going from here.:-)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I started the darn thing in third and had about three chapters done. Then, due to shoulder vultures and encouragement from a friend, I gave first person a try and actually liked that better.
At about the 10k mark, I started questioning my choice though. It's been nagging at me for about 35k now and I finally decided to revise part of chapter one back into third person since I'd gotten a better grip on my MC's voice.
Both POVs worked well. I still couldn't decide which way to go. So, I talked to my mentor tonight.
She told me a couple things I already know. First, that first person POV is a weaker pov to write in. You are limited by just what the character sees, knows, hears, smells, etc.
Next, that first person had a different structure than third person. Meaning, you have to plan your scenes so that you can get in the info you need instead of being able to use others to get the info to the reader.
So...you guessed it. I'm back to third person pov for the novel. I'm going to continue where I left off on Friday in third person and will revise the previous later.
I feel good about the change. Not only can I get in a bit more info, I can add another character's pov and get his take on things too.
I'm ready to get started.
Be sure to stop by Let's Write a Novel...Together! and see what's happening there. I'm posting every day there during the week and we'll start planning our NaNo novels in Oct.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
But...I'm officially over halfway done with my novel. I figure to have the rough draft finished by the end of this month and it to come in at about 65k. I'll have to revise and add the meat to get up to the 80k I was told to aim for. But that won't be a problem. My first draft is very, very, very bare bones.
I do want to encourage you to stop by the Let's Write a Novel...Together! blog and join us as we get ready to start planning our NaNo novel. I'm planning a sequel to the WIP.
So...what you writing? What you reading?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I'm so mad right now I could bite nails in half. And while I won't go into the cause, it gave me the topic for this post.
We must have passion in our writing…and for our writing. Our characters must be passionate. Without passion in our writing, it's meaningless.
I'm not talking about passion of a romantic nature though sometimes that can be good too but more of the kind of passion that moves a story, that connects the reader with the story and causes them to remember it long after the last page is turned.
I'm not sure exactly how to get that passion in the story though. Maybe be finding something the characters are passionate about and channeling (so to speak) our passion into them as we write? Or do we somehow fuse our passion to that of our character?
A while back, I'd lost the passion for the writing process and for writing in general. I'd begun to think of writing as work for the most part. It was something I had to do instead of something I wanted to do. And honestly, I wasn't having any fun.
I took some time off from writing, did some serious pondering and found my joy again. I'm having fun, the writing process is exciting again and I look forward to each day's writing time. In fact, it's gotten to the point I get cranky when I have to miss a day. Thankfully for the family, that doesn't happen often.J
I think the thing I want y'all to take away from this post is what is your passion and how can you use it in your writing? Why are you writing in the first place? Heaven knows it's darn hard work, the pay is practically nil unless you manage to grab the brass ring and even if you do "make it" there will always be someone out there to put you down. You must find satisfaction in your writing, not for someone else, but for yourself. In fact, if you are writing for someone else, I sorta think you are doing it for the wrong reason.
Now that's not to say you don't have to keep your potential reader in mind as you write and revise, you must. But it's also important to take your own happiness in mind.
So…how do you impart passion into your story? And how do you keep that passion for writing and the process involved? How do you keep the passion you have for the idea throughout the writing process that may take months and months?
Share your thoughts in the comments for all of us. I'd love to hear from you.J
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As you can see...I'm just over 29k and should reach 30k by this afternoon. That's if the writing muse cooperates.
I've also started another blog project for NaNoWriMo called "Let's Write a Novel...Together" and encourage everyone to stop by and check it out.
This month, we'll be talking about different aspects of writing. Next month, we'll plan our NaNo projects, have some brainstorming chats maybe and then together in November, we'll write those novels. It'll be fun so don't miss out.
My internet diet is still working. Making writing a priority has been a very good thing.
Remember, if you don't get it written, you don't have anything to revise!!!
Friday, August 14, 2009
For example, StoryFix. This is an excellent place to hang out. There is so much info, you'll just have to pull up a chair and settle in. There's a series on structure along with all sorts of tips and techniques.
And...Men with Pens. Here's another website FULL of tips, techniques and just plain good advice.
Give these sites a visit, let me know what you think.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Kevin Parson is alone in his car when his cell phone rings. A man calling himself Slater offers a deadly ultimatum: You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you're driving will blow sky high. The the phone goes dead.
Kevin panics. Who could make such a demand? What sin? Yet not sure what else to do, Kevin swerves into a parking lot and runs from his car. Just in case.
Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets his world on a collision course with madness. And that's only the first move in this deadly game.
Publishers Weekly says "An almost perfect blend of suspense, mystery and horror."
And I totally, 150% agree. I found Thr3e mostly by accident yesterday and then sat up until almost 1 a.m. and finished reading. There are so many things I love about this book,the thing that sealed the deal and made me a fan is that I never saw the end coming. Not many books surprise me and but Thr3e kept me in my seat and held me until the very end. And even after I'd put it aside, my thoughts still returned to the characters, the plot and the great twist. (My daughter will be reading it soon - I can hardly wait to have someone to talk about this book with.)
I love the characters and how "real" they are. The plot never became predictable and the twist...AWESOME!!!
My one concern when I considered purchasing Thr3e was how much or how preachy did he get. Afterall, I found Thr3e at a Christian book store. No worries though...the religious message blended into the story, was never preachy or condemning and didn't over power the story either. A perfect balance, in my opinion.
If you enjoy Stephen King or Dean Koontz, then give Ted Dekker a try. You won't be sorry.
You can read an excerpt here.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Hope you enjoy.
“Finally, it‘s about time you got here. What’d you tell Bill?”
“Just that you and Dave had a fight, that you were upset and needed someone to talk to. I told him not to wait up for me, that I might stay over. Of course, he was practically asleep on the couch before I left so that’s where he’ll probably be in the morning. He’s such a bore lately. Where’d Dave go?”
“He didn’t go anywhere. Come on. I’ll show you. “
“Oh god! Is he dead?”
“Yeah, he’s dead. But I warned him. I told him what would happen if he ever cheated on me. He asked for it. You know, he didn’t even lie about it. Said she made him feel like a real man. Well, she won’t be making him feel anything ever again, I can tell you that.”
“Did he tell you who she is? I mean, do you know who he was seeing?”
“I didn’t even ask. Right now though, we got to get rid of him. I saw a couple gators when I jogged over Possum Creek yesterday. We can dump him there. It’ll be days before they find him, if they ever do. Wrap the shower curtain around him. I’ve got the truck backed up to the deck. We can just slide him right in.”
“What are you going to tell everyone? Sooner or later someone will come looking for him.”
“Yeah, all his buddies down at Joe’s. I’ll just say we had a fight, he left and didn‘t come home. It’s almost the truth. The Johnson‘s will confirm the fight and that he left.”
“But he did come home. What about that?”
“They were asleep by then. A 747 could land in their yard and not wake them. Besides, he parked in the back when he came home. Thanks to the privacy fence Dave insisted on building, they can’t see back there. Now, let’s take out the trash.”
“God, he’s heavy. How are we going ever going to get him over the bridge?”
“I’ve got a plan. Don’t worry. Follow me in your car.”
“Alright, I’ll meet you there.”
“Don’t wimp out on me. I need you. You don’t want me going to jail do you?”
“Of course not. You’re my best friend. I won’t let you down.”
“Hold onto the shower curtain. I’ll ease the truck away and he’ll slide right out. Ready?”
“Go real slow. Oh god, oh god, oh god. He’s out.”
“Now to get him over the bridge. Here gator, gator. Time for a midnight snack. Grab his feet, pull him up and over the rail. Leave the shower curtain, I’ll get rid of that later. There’s a construction site not far from here. They won’t notice it in the dumpster. Good, now help me shove him over.”
“I’m going to have nightmares for weeks.”
“No, you won’t. I mean, you only helped a friend. It’s not like it’s your fault. Oh wait, it is partly your fault.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you really think you’d get away with it? That I wouldn’t figure it out? You’ve been wearing that same cheap perfume since sixth grade. When Dave came home from his business trip last month, his clothes reeked of it.”
“Come on, I’m not the only person who wears Temptation.”
“True, but you were gone the same weekend. I called. Thought a girl’s night out would be fun. Bill told me about your business trip.”
“I was in meetings all weekend. Honest. It really was a business trip.”
“Maybe. I couldn’t prove it one way or the other so I started following Dave. The Blue Moon hotel on Tuesday and Thursdays at lunch. Then there was the day y’all didn’t even make it to the hotel. Last Wednesday wasn’t it? I always hated doing it in the front seat but you seemed to be enjoying it.”
“I didn’t mean to… I couldn’t help it. And he said it was over, that he was filing for divorce.”
“It doesn’t matter. You were my best friend. There’s no excuse. No matter what he said.”
“What are you going to tell Bill? He knows I went to your place. He’ll expect me back in the morning.”
“You never made it to my place. Just cause you said I called, doesn’t mean I did. Besides, once he finds out about you and Dave, he’ll be more angry than concerned.”
“Please… You don’t have to do this.”
“Yeah I do. You were a good friend but it‘s too late. Now, you’re dessert for the gators. Bye Pam.”
“Look out below. Open up boys, this one will make you feel like a real gator.”
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This week started out on a very good note. The winner of the Reading Writer's Dynamic Dialogue Contest was announced and while I didn't win, I did get another Honorable Mention. I'm calling it a "tie for second" since she only picks one winner. The winning piece is excellent so check it out. For tips on what an editor is looking for in a piece, read the judge's opinion. You can check out the archives for back issues of their ezine, THE VERB, and read other winners and her comments.
And, check out the current contest prompt. These are fun to do and a great way to practice your craft.
In the novel writing news department, I've added almost 6k this week. Wednesday I had to be away from home and the puter all day so I only wrote four days this week but still did well. I'm excited about the way things are going. I hope others will be also.
Here's a cool link to check. On Sunday's they post the "Best of Twitter" links.
Want to track your word count? You can add a progress meter like mine to your website too. These are fairly easy to work with and it's really nice to see the words add up. You can find yours at StoryToolz.
Now, go write something!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
As you know, or maybe you don't, I've put myself on an internet diet. Meaning,no internet until I get my "First 500" words written each day. This is working so well. It's reminded me there are more important things than reading the latest Twitter or Facebook update. And you know what, the world hasn't come to an end just because I've neglected the internet a bit.
I still read several agent and author blogs though not on as a regular basis as before but I've made my writing a priority and that's what I needed to do.
One thing I've noticed in the years I've been learning my craft is the more I write, the better I get. The more I write, the less I struggle with my inner editor. And the more I write, the easier the words flow.
I once heard that we need to write a million words of dreck before the good stuff comes along. And while I'm not sure I'd agree with a million, I do know the more I write, the more I make writing something important, the better the writing is.
One thing that helps me it to have a general idea of what I need to write for the day. I'm betting it'll help you too. So, have a couple scene ideas in mind. Maybe ponder them the night before or set aside a day to plan your writing week.
I saw a quote about writing inspiration a while back that really struck home. We can't wait around and hope for inspiration to find us. We need to be busy and working and serious about our craft. The inspiration will be there we just have to tap into it.
So, my challenge for you is to make writing a priority. Carve out a niche of time where you can write without being interrupted. Take whatever measures you need, even if you have to get up a few minutes earlier or stay up later than normal. Sure, the first couple days will be rough, but it'll be well worth it. Make an appointment with your writing instrument of choice and keep it. Don't wait to be inspired.
Now, what are you still doing here? Go write!!!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My writing mentor, if I'd asked her, would say to write some in first person and see which way worked best. So I took her advice and gave first person a try. I figured I could do the "First 500" in first and not lose much if I didn't like it.
The only problem…I didn't have a good opening line. I wasn't happy with the third person opening either but just didn't have a clue how to fix it. However, once I made the commitment to give first a try, a really nice first line arrived.
Now I'm almost 2k into my rewrite, changing from third to first person. I'm really pleased with the way things are flowing and how much more the character comes through. I figure by the end of the day, I'll have caught up to the 4k mark on the counter to the right. Which will be very cool.
So, what's your favorite POV to write in and why?
Monday, July 20, 2009
I started this on Monday of last week and I have to say, it's worked quite well. I've managed to get over 500 words each day, two days I got close to 1,000 and one day I got over 1,300. And only one day were the words so bad I deleted them later. Even though they were dreck, they did give me some ideas and got me started on the right direction. So, when I wrote the new scene the next day, it was very nice.
I did take the weekend off and spend it doing stuff with family and of course, church on Sunday but I did do a bit of planning so I'd have a starting point this week.
This week, I'm aiming for 1,000 words each morning before going to the internet. Seems doable and I seriously need to make progress on this novel. May will be here before long and I have to be ready.
I've also decided to focus solely on novel. No more prompts for fun. I won't promise no more short stories since when the plot bunny drops off an idea, you don't want to insult them by being ungrateful but I'm going to try to stay on track.
And so…if you need to get things written, try the "First 500" idea. Put your writing before whatever it is that distracts you and get those words on paper. Believe me, it's worth it and gets easier each day.
Friday, July 17, 2009
It’s been a while since I updated but that’s mostly because of puter problems and having to buy a new puter. I now have a very nice laptop I call “The Precious.” I tell the kids it’s because “I needz it.”
Then, I was trying to catch up on things and get back into writing and blogging just didn’t take top billing. I’ve thought about it numerous times but never seemed to get around to it.
One thing I learned from the past two months with all the puter issues is to back up EVERTHING!!! I’ve been pretty obsessive about backing up the writing since I lost some and had to start over but this past May, I learned the value of backing up other things as well.
Such as…your favorites list. I didn’t and now I can’t find one of my favorite name sites. I’ve asked other writing friends I might have shared it with, googled every combination of key words I can think off and even did the new “bing” thing. I can’t find it. Most of my favorites weren’t a big deal or were things I could refind easily. Don’t lose something special.
Misc. software… A while back, Give Away of the Day had Liquid Story Binder as their give away. And I really liked it for keeping things organized. And while I always backed up things I added to LSB, I never made a second copy of the program. Now, I’m back to waiting for them to offer it again. I hope soon.
Also…I managed to get the printer driver from the manufacturer’s website but the OCR software was lost. So, while I can use the printer, I can’t scan anything in and convert it to a Word doc. Sigh.
I plan to do better this time around.
This past week, a good friend of mine lost about 28k of her novel when her puter decided to eat it. The only thing we can figure is somehow she hit one of the “F” keys and it deleted the whole document as she was typing. She didn’t have a second copy of it anywhere and they couldn’t find it. Now she’s got to start over. She had sent me the first 5 pages so I returned them and she had a beginning but all that work, gone.
So, I’ve declared Wednesday each week as Back Up Your WIP Day. I’ll try to remind you each week.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Today, I received an email from the Senior Editor letting me know they had already published a work with the same title as mine and I needed to send her an alternative.
Okay...not a problem. Until I discovered my next choice was taken. Deep breath! I can come up with something appropriate. I spent some time with a thesaurus looking at alternative words and while I found a couple I liked, nothing that thrilled me or connected with the story. I made a note and might use them later.
Thankfully the plot bunnies were around and had an appropriate title that connects with the story and its theme. So, I sent it to the editor and made a note for myself.
Will see what happens now.
The question is, how attached to your title are you? Could you come up with another if needed?
And what about character names? I had to change a main character's last name in my mystery novel and still am not really happy with my choice. I keep trying out new names and hope something rings a bell. Sigh...
Friday, May 22, 2009
Special thanks to all those who either serve or have served in the military. Hubby and I both were in the Air Force. I spent a little over 4 years and then served at hubby's side while he finished out his 20.
Hubby will be off for three days, we'll hang out around the house, sleep late, do some yard work and later throw some burgers on the grill. Yum!
And, I'll be working on romance novel. Got to get that taken care of.
Have a great weekend y'all!
Oh...bit of trivia. A group of turtles is called a bale. Yeap, that's right.
Monday, May 18, 2009
That's right, you know, shoulder vultures. They sit on your shoulder and whisper how terrible that last sentence is or how no one in the entire world could ever want to read anything you could write.
And they show up at the most inconvenient times too. Like right before deadlines, as you are about to drop that submission in the mail or hit the send button.
These varmits can be a major thorn in the flesh for most writers at one time or the other. Especially those of us just starting out or getting more rejection than acceptance letters. And I'm not really sure we ever totally vanquish them. I've talked to writers with many publications credits and they tell me the shoulder vultures still gather as they write.
So how do we deal with these varmits? Here's a few of my favorite ideas.
* Realize self-doubt is normal and things aren't near as bad as we think.
* Get a second opinion from another writer you respect.
* Take a break from your piece for a couple days. This allows you to look at it with fresh eyes.
* Be positive. Fight those negative thoughts with positive ones.
Shoulder vultures are one of the many things writers have to deal with. However, we don't have to let them win.
Friday, May 15, 2009
However, I've found one contest I love. It's over at Reading Writers and I want to urge all of you to check it out and enter.
Each quarter, a new prompt is posted along with guidelines and date to enter by.
This quarter it's a "Dynamic Dialogue" prompt. How cool is that! Be sure to read all the guidelines on the site but here is a glimpse to whet your appetite.
Write a complete story—not a scene—that consists of pure dialogue. No narrative whatsoever, not even a he said or she replied. If it isn't spoken, and within quotation marks, it can't be on the page.
Now, why I like this contest...
1. No entry fee.
2. Winner gets nice stuff, a cash prize, a book and a critique of their entry.
3. I can read previous winners and see what judge is looking for, her likes and dislikes.
4. Working on the prompts help me learn my craft while having fun, trying new things and genres.
5. Prompts vary from quarter to quarter and you can twist them to whatever genre you are writing.
6. They let you know that your submission was received. (I hate not knowing.)
Now, click on over, check it out and get writing.
Oh, in the last contest, there were 318 entries. They pick one winner and several Honoarable Mentions, this time ten of them.
I managed another Honorable Mention. I call it a "tie for second."
Monday, May 11, 2009
I've always loved animal stories so when I received my copy of Not-So-Wild Animals I Have Known, it didn't take me long to get started reading.
I read stories of camels and cheetahs, wombats and zebras, Tasmanian devils and purse stealing vultures. It was easy to imagine sitting around the living room, Jack in the couch with his feet propped on the coffee table (shoes off, of course) listening to him tell about his days spent working with various zoos.
I'll be putting this one on my keeper shelf and recommend it for any animal lover. This book will make a really nice gift for kids and is the perfect stocking stuffer.
And while you're thinking animals, share your animal story and be entered to win a copy of Not-So-Wild Animals I Have Known. You can order your copy at Honey Locust Press.
Friday, May 8, 2009
First, I wish I'd found Procrastinating Writer years ago. They have some really great articles and tips for dealing with procrastination.
I especially like this ---> 30 Days to a Better Writer
A friend and I are going to team up for the next 10 weeks and get our novels written. If you're interested in joining in the fun, let me know.:-)
Next, Sketch Your Novel in an Hour. This is something I need to do this weekend. Yes, I have most of a rough outline on paper but you never can tell what this might bring to light.
And, here's a list of Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See. Once you have them pointed out though, you learn to look for them. Great article.
Lastly, just have to share.
"Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators." - Olin Miller
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
About a month ago, I agreed to do a critique for a very novice writer. (I had lots of help when I was getting started so believe I should return the favor.) Her novel was to be a romantic suspense. It started with the main character waking up, laying in bed with a flashback to her youth. The chapter continued with the character getting up, working out, taking a shower, brushing her teeth then going to get hair done, nails done at a spa, lunch and some shopping. It went on like this for "4" chapters with an occasional info dump added in. All in first person too. Finally in the 5th chapter,(about 60 pages in) we get two sentences of a hint to the novel's story then we go back to more of the same as before. I quit reading shortly after. All of this info just took up space on the page. It didn't serve any function.
These days, a writer just can't start like this. The reader won't wait for the "good" stuff. We have to catch the reader right away, give them a reason to read on.
There's been a lot written on great starts, by smarter, more experienced writers than myself so I'll not even go there. I will recommend Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell though. He has a GREAT chapter on the beginnings with some excellent examples.
The thing to remember about beginnings is you have to begin somewhere. If you don't begin, you won't get anywhere. So, whether you decide to begin with a back story info dump or drop your reader in the middle of an action scene - start! If you want to start with the weather or with a conversation, great. Just start!
You don't have to have a great beginning right off the bat. You can perfect your beginning later.
So, do you struggle with beginnings? What's your favorite way to begin a story?
Monday, May 4, 2009
Okay, maybe not so big but still, I'd been waiting for today for a couple weeks. I felt my piece had a good chance of winning but with contests, you never can tell just what the judge likes so I didn't hold my breath.
And while I didn't "win" I did get an Honorable Mention or as I like to call it, a "Tie for Second." There were 318 entries, 1 winner and 10 Honorable Mentions. So, all in all, not bad.
Congrats to all those who entered. It takes courage to put your work out there for judging.
Special congrats to those who "tied for second" and to the winner. His piece is very nice.
You can find the results here and the winner's story here.
There is plenty of time to enter their next prompt. You can find it here.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The one thing, the most important thing from the whole weekend is that "great will rise to the top of the slush and get the attention it deserves."
I said it here and I'll say it again. Write a great story, polish it until it shines, do your homework and research where to submit, then submit widely and often.
Also, I want to point out the importance of attending writer's conferences. These are a great place to connect with other writers and make friends. No one understands what it means to be a writer except another writer.
Conferences are a great place to meet agents and editors. Even if you have nothing ready to pitch, you can still get to know them on a bit more personal level.
Not sure where or when a conference will be? Then check out Shaw Guides. You can search by state or month. Also, google writer's conferences and your state. For example, Texas Writer's Conferences and see what pops up. I can say with a fair amount of certainty you won't regret attending. Unless you go to bed early, miss out on the kitchen raid, cards, snackage and great conversation.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Character world view or how the character sees the world. This was really interesting and something I need to work on with my novel characters.
Start with your character's motto. It can be anything like, "better safe than sorry" or "just do it" or some such thing.
This also connects with the character's life metaphor. "Life is like a box of chocolates" or "life is what you make it" or something like "life is a roller coaster, adventure or battle."
These (motto and metaphor) are determined by events in that character's life. It takes some thought to figure these "defining moments" out so she gave us a general method to do so.
Think about your character from birth to 5 years old. What event happened that framed the world view?
Then, from ages 5-10, what event reinforced that world view?
Next, from 10-18, what event continued to entrench that viewpoint?
From 18-22, what event further supported that viewpoint?
Finally, what event in your character's recent past set that viewpoint in cement?
Here's an example.
Let's take Jim. He has a life metaphor that "Life is a dangerous thing." His character motto is "Always be on guard."
Now, why does he have these? Because when he was 4, his mother took him to the park where she was mugged and seriously injured. He was alone with her for an hour or so.
When he was 7, on the way to school, a car ran a red light and hit the car he was in, wrecking the car and the other driver died.
When he was 13, the school bus he and the football team were riding on was involved in an accident and several students were seriously injured.
Next, when he was 18, at graduation, he was crossing the stage to get his diploma when the bleachers collapsed.
Poor guy...no wonder he has the worldview he does. Now of course you want to make the things that happen fit your character, these are just off the top of my head and I'm still half asleep:-)
Another thing she discussed was misguided beliefs and how it's the author's job to challenge them. These beliefs are dis-empowering such as, "I'm a loser" or "I can't do anything right." For example, the movie Rocky. His misguided belief was that he was a loser and the whole movie challenged that view.
Now, some general stuff from the conference. We had a really nice workshop on the synopsis. Honestly, they aren't as bad as most people make them out to be. One person related them to book reports. The basic info and mostly boring. The agent doing the workshop commented that she didn't read the synopsis until after she read the pages and what she was really wanting to know was what happened next and how you wrapped up the story. She wasn't expecting to find your "voice" in the synopsis, just how the story turns out.
We also did this seriously cool "progressive" writing exercise for fun after the Friday night meet & greet. If you need a writing game for an event, let me know and I'll email you the details.
After the older folks went to bed (the conference building had attached dorms on either side, one for men, one for women, meeting room in the middle) about 7 of us raided the kitchen for ice and drinks then played cards, laughed and snacked until about midnight. It was so much fun.
Saturday was filled with workshops. I didn't pitch anything to either the Tor editor or the agent but one of the ladies I met and became friends with did and both of them want her full and the agent was talking about revisions and how soon she could get it done and career stuff. I expect an "I've got an agent" email any day now.
If you get the chance to attend any writer's conference, I encourage you to go. Even if you aren't ready to pitch, you'll learn lots, make friends and have a great time. Not only that, it's a great way to recharge your writing battery.
And, that's exactly what I'm about to go do!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
When I get back, I'll give you an indepth report.
Also, next week I'll be posting a review of J.A. Konrath's Bloody Mary.
Plus, my thoughts on my first month with Twitter.
Y'all have a great weekend. See you Monday!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
No, this isn't a mystery, thriller or suspense but more than ever before, we need to support fellow writers.
This book will be a wonderful gift for any animal lover along with great stocking stuffers for Christmas. Not only that, it's the perfect book to encourage young readers. Get a copy for your kids, grandkids and one or two for your local library.
And while you are there, share a true animal story and you'll be entered to win one of three autographed copies.
I've posted my story, Raccoon Encounter so give it a read and say hi.
Here's the LINK!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Happy Friday all! Here's some cool links I've been saving just for today.
First, a very cool article called Creating Characters That Jump Off The Page by Robert Gregory Brown. I love this.
Also his article How Not To Write On The Nose. He's got some really good ones so when you have a chance, browse his site.
For those of you who love a challenge, check out the Dynamic Dialogue Contest over at Reading Writers. They have a quarterly contest that's free to enter, with a nice prize. This one is going to be a serious challenge:-) (I sent in a story for their "mirror as a character" prompt. Winners will be announced May 5th so I'm eagerly waiting.)
Joe Moore from The Kill Zone posted a very, very cool link for Research Sites. He's got some great resources and if you aren't reading The Kill Zone, you should be.
And check out The Plot Whisperer. I haven't had a chance to look around completely but I plan to soon.
Don't forget the Pen To Press Retreat next May in New Orleans. This is going to be such fun...and LOTS of work. But I totally believe it'll be worth it. I've already applied, been accepted and I'm so excited about being able to attend.
Lastly, we need this now more than ever. I found this Jenny Crusie article called Rats With Islands a while back. I think you'll find it seriously interesting.
Enjoy and have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Today as I was getting started, I decided to go through my notes and get rid of those I don't need. Some, I have no clue what they mean now so they got pondered and put back in the stack. Some, such as hubby's old cell phone number, got tossed.
Here's some that I kept.
Romance story idea involving a zoo field trip...
Idea about a really nice guy who reads poetry at libraries during the day and kills bald guys on the night of the full moon.>br> Several ideas for blog posts about writing.
Two different lists of words to avoid such as that, was, were, just, very, and felt...
Two recipes. Peanut Butter Pie & Sock It To Me Cake, both are yummy by the way.
The Italian phrase "Tutto E Possibile" which means Anything is Possible.
Numerous writing tips such as...
Scene = Goal, Confict & Disaster
Scene = sequence of action that occurs continously in one place, time & POV. 1)What do we wnat reader to take away from the scene? 2) What will give dramatic power to scene?
The question "Does the scene balance action with visual details & dialogue?" I must have been focusing on scenes for a while:-)
Several ways to handle the revision process such as starting with the story, then plot, then dialogue.
The definition of a story: "A story consists of a sequence of action that occur when a sympathec character encounters a complicating situation the he confronts and solves."
All that to say, take notes of things you think are important. Save them for pondering later. Today, I found the reminder I needed among my notes.
"Write the first draft from the heart. Write the second from the head." C.S. Forester You can make your own sticky notes here.
Monday, April 13, 2009
There is no magic key, secret handshake, or hidden formula for publishing success. But there are a few rules that will get you closer each time you apply them.
Rule #1 Write a great story. Write a story that captivates the reader, that makes her forget dinner until it burns and won't let go until the last page gets read at 3 a.m.
Rule #2 Polish your story. Revise and make it better. Find a writer's group or a couple readers who know the genre to help point out weak spots. This is also where "never stop learning your craft" comes into play.
Rule #3 Research thoroughly. Research your market, read sample issues. Study submission guidelines and follow them. Learn proper submission format and how to write query letters and a synopsis. Check out agent blogs and learn what they are looking for.
Rule #4 Submit widely and often. You can't just submit once. Sure, sometimes once is enough but more often than not, you are going to have to submit many times before finding the editor or agent who wants your work. That's just the reality of writing. There are a lot more writers out there submitting than spots available.
Rule #5 Never give up! If you give up, you most definitely won't succeed. Sure that rejection letter is going to hurt, so sulk for a bit then get back in the game.
Now, go start applying these rules and get published!
Overcoming the obstacles
Understanding the risks
Going the distance
Expecting the best
Courage is not the failure to recognize fear, it is the refusal to accepts it's offer.
Don't be a hostage to yesterday, be in command of today.
Don't let fear stop you, it only means you're facing great opportunities.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
It's a private group so our rights are protected. To join, go to Zoetrope and become a member. Then click on Private Offices on the left side menu. You can either search the offices for Mysteries in the Making or use the search function. Then, just request an invite.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Writing is like that too. I love getting ideas and plotting them out, seeing what happens. I love creating characters, getting to know them and then putting them through their paces to see just what they can handle. I love how they handle those things and how sometimes they surprise me.
I hate writing too. I hate staring at the blank page, trying to get that first sentence right. I hate struggling with my inner editor over each little word. And I hate going back and reading something I thought was decent only to find it really is dreck.
But...after all the hard work of writing, comes the love again. I love it when the battles with the inner editor have made the story stronger, tighter and more focused. I love it when a reader loves my story and when I surprise 'em with an unexpected twist or turn. All these, make the hard work worth it. And, these things keep me writing.
So, tell me what you love/hate about writing.
Remember to become one of our first 25 followers and win either an autographed copy of The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson or The Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing.
You can also get your daily writing or motivational quote by following me on Twitter. I promise not to tell you what I'm having for lunch, about the bluejay that crashed into my picture window this morning and startled me or how bad a hair day I'm having.
And, while you're at it...stop by Golden Visions Magazine and read my story Prey. If you like it, give it a vote shout out!:-)
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The US government spends billions of dollars training soldiers to kill. Now they’re attempting an alternative approach. Instead of turning soldiers into killers, the military has trained five psychopathic murderers to be part of a classified Special Forces unit.
They are the most fearsome weapon ever created, meant to be dropped behind enemy lines. Their goals: Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. Five Hannibal Lectors with Rambo training. But something horrible has happened...
Welcome to Safe Haven, Population 907
A tiny community of families, retirees, and artists, nestled between Big Lake and Little Lake MacDonald in the northwoods. One road in, one road out, thirty miles away from everything. A town so small and peaceful they don’t even have a full time police force.
Hell has come to Safe Haven.
On their way to a mission, the Red Ops helicopter has crashed just outside of town. The team is now roaming free in the wilderness, heading for the nearest lights. Heading there to do what they do best.
Soon the phone lines are cut, the cell phones jammed, and the road blocked. Safe Haven’s only chance for survival rests on the shoulders of an aging county Sheriff. And as the body count rises, he’s quickly realizing something terrifying—maybe the Red Ops haven’t come to his small town by accident...
Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Population 907. . . 906. . . 905. . .
Are you afraid of the dark? You should be. You will be.
I came late to finding J.A. Konrath's blog (A Newbies Guide to Publishing), but have grown to love it and when I found out he had a horror novel coming out soon, I just had to check it out. And after reading the excerpt, I was sold. I just had to read the book!
I didn't get in on the month long blog tour Joe/Jack carried out but I followed along and read the reviews, chuckled over interviews and became increasingly eager to put Afraid to the test.
You see, I'm hard to please when it comes to reading for pleasure. And as a kid, I used to read Stephen King under the covers with a flashlight so I'm darn hard to scare. Who of us can forget, Carrie, Cujo, Pet Sematary, Misery or even The Dark Half. Gosh, those bring back memories:-) But I have to say, move over Stephen, Jack Kilborn's come to town. And he's really creepy!
I love this book! I'd have read it in one sitting, which I haven't done in so long I can't remember but I'd been up since before daylight, driven about 8 hours that day and by 11, my brain just couldn't handle being awake.
The bad guys are really, really bad. The good guys are people I'd like to know and call friend. While I wasn't frightened by Afraid, I found myself thinking about different scenes during the next couple days. Especially the toe chewing off thing. That was just creepy...but creepy in a good way.
If you love horror, I highly recommend Afraid. It's fast moving, never boring and will be on my keeper shelf.
In fact, I'm going to be trying a couple of J.A.'s other books too. I think I've found a new favorite!
Friday, April 3, 2009
So, want a writing buddy? Need someone to hold you accountable for getting words on the page? Let me know. Need a place to hang your hat and put your feet up? Let me know that too. I've got a spot in mind.
Just let me know what genre you write and how experienced you are so I can pair you with the "right" buddy.
If you love to read or write mysteries, then I've got a special place for you. I've started a office called Mysteries in the Making over at Zoetrope, just for mysteries. It's private so we don't have to worry about losing rights of things posted there. You have to join Zoetrope and then "Zmail" me for an invite but it's easy to do. My hope is to create a place where we can help each other grow in our craft and become published if that's what a person is aiming for.
Also, remember become on of the first 25 Mysteries in the Making Blog followers and you'll be entered to win an autographed copy of The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson or The Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing.
I've also started Twittering and would encourage you to follow me there. I promise not to bore you with mindless twitters about what I had for lumch or how bad a hair day I'm having. In fact, you'll get a writing or inspirational/motivational quote. You can find me under jeanlauzier.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
As a way to help other mystery writers get their stories written, critiqued and out for the rest of the world to read, I've started a private mystery group over at Zoetrope.
You have to join the Zoetrope website, which is easy. Then go to the menu on the left of the page and click on Private Offices. That will give you a list of the 200 most active "offices" on the site.
Scroll down and look for Mysteries in the Making. Or, use the search function. Then you can request an invite. I'll be more than happy to have you join us there.
Here's a couple benefits.
The group is private. We can post our work there, get critiques and comments and not have to worry about losing our rights.
It's a great place to fellowship and socialize with other mystery writers. So, let your friends know about it.
It'll be a great place to share mystery markets or mystery focused contests.
So, stop on over, join and take part. Introduce yourself and let us know what you like to write.
Monday, March 30, 2009
First, a contest sponsored by The Writer magazine. This one has a $10 entry fee but first prize is $1,000 and publication.
Deadly Ink also has a contest. No entry fee but the "deadly incident" must take place in New Jersey.
Golden Visions Magazine has a nifty contest too. They are a speculative fiction publisher but as long as your story has a spec. fic. nature, it can be mystery or even horror. Be sure to read the guidelines as there is a theme to this one. And, while you're there, read my story Prey, and give it a vote if you enjoy it. Thanks!
The Verb has a quarterly prompt based contest. I really like this one:-)
Again, be sure to read the guidelines.
One of the blogs I read on a regular basis is Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room. I heartily recommend you check it out. One of the regular contributors is Jeff Cohen. I stole his YouTube video and posted it here for your enjoyment.
I've given in and started twittering. If you'd like to keep up with what's happening on the blog and such, the please follow me. There's a link on the right side of the blog...somewhere up close to the top. I promise not to bore you with what I had for lunch or how I'm having a bad hair day. In fact, to avoid boring my followeres, I'm tweeting writing and motivational quotes.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wordle - Paste in the text of your story and Wordle creates a word picture. It's seriously cool. You can save the images and use them for bookmarks, t-shirts and other promo ideas.
Write or Die - Need help getting words on the page? Give this a try. For serious cases, set it on Kamikazi mode. Then keep writing or your words will disappear.
20,000 Names - Here's a great place to find names for characters. You can also search by meaning.
Free Book - Become one of our first 25 followers and be entered to win an authographed copy of The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson or The Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing.
Mysteries in the Making now has an "office" at Zoetrope. Once you join, find Mysteries in the Making in the directory and request to join. I"ll be glad to invite you in. It's private so we can post our work there for comments and critiques and not lose our rights. I look forward to seeing you there.
Lastly...I get to brag. Mysterical-e has accepted my short story, Up In Smoke for their fall issue. I'll post a link when it goes live.
Prey is live at Golden Visions Magazine. Please, go by, read and if you like it, give it a shout out by voting for it. The reader's favorites may end up in a year end anthology.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Be sure to check out their contest page while there.
Monday, March 23, 2009
But, the other night I was chatting with a friend who has a small mystery ezine and he mentioned how he might have to let it go. Seems like subscriptions are down, costs are going up and as much as he'd like to continue, he's not sure if he can. I left the conversation terribly saddened.
It got me to thinking though. I didn't subscribe to his ezine, and I'm a mystery writer. What's wrong with me? I would love to have a story published in his ezine so why the heck hadn't I subscribed to support him?
Because I just didn't think about it. I took for granted that someone else would subscribe and support him. But you know what...someone else didn't. In fact, someone else has let several other ezines I know of fade out of existence. I can name three right now and possibly two more.
So...It's time to take action. Here's my challenge for each of you.
Find a short story market you'd love to be published in and subscribe if you don't already. If they don't do the subscription thing, then donate to their expenses. Markets that pay the writers are few and far between. And not only does the writer deserve to get paid, but so do the editors who work so hard putting out a quality reading experience. So does the owner who pays the web fees and expenses involved with each issue.
One of the best ways to get our name and writing out there to the reader is through the short story market. Yet, if we don't step up and support them, we are going to continue losing them. And that would not be a good thing. We need them as much, if not more than they need us.
Remember, become one of our first twenty-five followers and be entered to win an autographed copy of The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson or The Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I've read a couple other blogs, caught up in a discussion group, chatted with my mom by instant message, google chatted with another writer and even made a few notes on another idea for a story.
One of the things most writers have in common is procrastination. So, help a fellow writer out and share your cure for procrastination.
Me, I'm going to turn off Instant Message, set my status as busy at google chat and apply the BIC method. Hopefully, I'll make some progress.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I've got an autographed copy of The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson, The Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing (hardcover) and an "uncorrected proof, limited edition of Lifelines by CJ Lyons for you to pick from.
Here's some things to check out.
Pen to Press Retreat - Spend a week working on your manuscript with best selling authors and pitching to NY agents and editors. I'm registered and looking forward to learning from some of the best.
Hillerman Mystery Novel Contest - got a mystery novel set in the southwest then you might be interested in this. Winner gets a nice advance and a published novel.
Do you blog? Here's an interesting post on why you should.
Hardboiled Heros & Cozy Cats Mystery Conference. Sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America Southwest chapter and held in Dallas Texas, June 19-20 2009. They have some really great looking workshops.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When writing crime fiction, it's so important to get the details right. We have to get the firearm details, crime scene details, police procedure details and a host of other details just right. If we don't, our reader WILL know and may decide not to read any of our other writing.
One place to get those details is The Graveyard Shift, Lee Lofland's blog. Topics range from jails, bounty hunting, police dogs, investigation, forensics and many others. If you don't find what you need, Lee is great answering questions. Just leave a question in the comment section.
Lee is also the author of Police Procedure & Investigation. This is on my "keeper" shelf. I find it a great resource.
Remember, research may be time consuming but the details you glean will make your story better and better is well worth the work.
Monday, March 9, 2009
One of my pet peeves is the end of the book. I want an end that makes me feel good, makes me feel all is right with the world and that the characters I've come to love will be "okay." I want an end that makes me believe I've not wasted my time reading the book. I want an end that makes sense, that leaves me going "Aaaahhhhhh!" An end that makes me want to go find more books by this author and have a read-fest.
I love reading series for the most part. And I understand the author wants you to purchase the next book in the series. However, when they leave the reader hanging out on a limb without resolving the main conflict, it drives me nuts. It makes me think they stuck that end on as a gimmick.
That really annoys me. What annoys you enough to stop reading a novel?
Friday, March 6, 2009
Is your mystery novel ready to submit? Does it take place in the Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Southern California and Utah? Then consider the Hillerman Mystery Competition.
Check out Nathan Bransford's Ten Commandments for a Happy Writer. It's a nice reminder that we all need sometimes.
And for a good laugh, stop by here.
One of my favorite mystery blogs is Kill Zone. Yesterday they had an interesting post on the short story.
Want to promote your mystery novel on Mysteries in the Making? Email me and let's chat.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
As writers, we'd like to believe that writing the next great American novel is our only job. However, the publishing industry is changing rapidly and the author has to wear more and more "hats." Even if the author wants only a small amount of success.
This is where a platform comes in. Defined as any means you use to get your name and your book known to a viable readership such as your website, articles you've written, classes you teach, and public speaking. Having a platform can help tremendously in the "getting known" department.
And building that platform is where "Get Known Before the Book Deal" by Christina Katz comes in handy. Christina guides the author step by step in creating a platform by using the author's personal strengths and expertise.
From platform basics to identifying our niche and audience, connecting with others and even how to grow our platforms, "Get Known Before the Book Deal" is filled with information simplifying the platform building process.
Christina goes on to say we are 100% responsible for the success of our writing careers, 100% of the time. Then, she gives us things we can do to build that success such as suggestions of places to find speaking engagements and even tips for a successful presentation.
The wealth of information in "Get Known Before the Book Deal" earns this book a spot on my "keeper" shelf and a "must read" recommendation for all writers who plan on pursuing publication success.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
We discussed several things we thought important and I thought I'd share my top three with you.
1. A series character must be likeable. This is a character the writer will be spending a lot of time with and getting to know better than their best friend. And, if we're lucky, our readers will be spenging lots of time with this character too. It's darn hard to spend time with someone you don't like and most of us won't.
2. A series character must be interesting. I think this is why so many series characters have such cool jobs. Landscapers, privite detectives, cops, forensic specialists, caterers, medical professionals and the list goes on. Not only does the writer get a chance to try out a new profession, but the reader gets tag along. Of course, the character's profession must be done correctly or your book will end up a wall banger and none of us want that.
3. A series character must have room to grow and develop. Not only as a person but in their career. Again, this character is going to be around a long time. Growth keeps them from becoming stagnant. Stagnant characters get boring quick. And we don't want that either.
So, what do you think are important when considering a series character?
Tomorrow I'll post a review of Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Book reviews of "how to write a mystery" books and other writing related books.
Reviews of mysteries we are reading.
Contests and conference information that relate to the mystery genre.
We'll also hold the occasional contest and give away stuff. This is where being a follower will pay off.
We'll take you with us on our journey from "first draft to publication" and pass along the things we learn along the way.
So, introduce yourself in the comment section. Let us know if there's anything you'd like to see on the blog.