Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Preparing for NaNo

It's that time of the year again. November is racing towards us. After my first, fabulous attempt at NaNo in 2009, I am really looking forward to 2010. There is just nothing like the feeling of thousands of obsessive writers rushing towards the deadline.

This year's NaNo is going to be different from last year. Instead of having a goal for a complete draft (90K) as I did in 2009, I am going to aim just for NaNo goal which is 50K.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Editing my current book is also a priority, and I can't focus on that as well as writing 90K, along with all the other stuff I have to do - like go to work

2. I want to try for a better, even slightly edited-as-I-write first draft, so the pace will be slower, which makes 50K a better target than 90K.

3. New expansion for Sims 3 is very unfortunately coming out on 29th of October, which means, I am gonna have to play it in November.

NaNo 2010 Project

I am going to be writing a second book in the series for my Fantasy WIP that I wrote for NaNo 2009. I considered various projects, but since I am going to be editing this story, I figured better stick to the same world. I am still brainstorming, so the actual outline hasn't started, so that's going to be bit of a push to have it done in October, but hoping for the best because I would really like to have a proper outline done.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Your Writing Journey: Guest Post - Erica Chapman

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share about my writing journey! I wish it were more exciting. I'll just add in some alien abductions and conspiracy theories to keep it interesting ;o)
What do you write?
Young Adult - Paranormal/Mystery/Sci-Fi. I can't seem to make up my mind. My next story is a YA sci-fi.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for about 17 years. Ack, but Erica, you're only 23. LOL. So you think. Actually, I'm a hired FBI agent for the government. Okay, I'm not 23, but I have been writing for 17 years.
What got you started?
At first I used writing as therapy. A way to get out all the crap that festered inside. As a teenager, I went through a lot of adult situations (who didn't, right?) and didn't exactly know how to deal with it. I couldn't talk to anyone about it, so I turned to my journal and began writing poetry. I believed writing in my teens was the catalyst for me to major in Journalism in college. I knew I wanted to have something writing related. Of course, I don't have a day job that requires writing, go figure.
A Few important lessons you have learned along the way 
  • Critique Partners/Betas are as important as breathing
  • First drafts are supposed to be crap; revision is what makes them pretty
  • Writing books takes time and energy, duh, right?
  • Reach out. The writing community is there to help and support
  • I'm so glad I got a twitter account and started blogging - and I believe it can only help
  • Learn, learn, learn about everything, the publishing business, query writing, other writers
What priority is writing in your life at the moment?
Writing is a huge priority for me. I want to make this a career. I also know my day job keeps money in my pocket and a 401K in the bank. Day job and writing are both around the same spot for me. I hope writing books becomes my day job someday.
Is it a hobby, career, potential career?
I'd like to do it for a living. It would be ideal. But, I am always aware of the reality of my situation. I will have a job for a long time, even if my books ever do get published.
Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life, regardless of financial / popular success?
Oh totally, that is unless the government infiltrates my brain and tries to brainwash me into believing I've been abducted by aliens and no longer have the ability or passion to write.
Anything else you may want to add:
I'll let you in on a secret (maybe not such a secret) my life is boring. Yep. I said it. It's sooo, normal. I go to work I come home, hang with the hubs and doggies, watch Dexter, write then sleep. Well, some nights I watch Big Brother ;o) It's so awesome to escape that world and enter a new one, one that I can make up, and have exciting things happen, like leaving in the middle of the night to track down a killer, or enter a different realm. I couldn't imagine a better dream.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Your Writing Journey: Guest Post - Adam Slade

What do you write?
Adam - I write sparse description and sarcastic dialogue, usually in the form of either a fantasy or humour novel. Ooh, and silly blog and Twitter posts!
How long have you been writing?
Adam - I think it's been about 2 and a half years. Maybe 3. I did have it written down somewhere, but gawd knows where it went. ;)
What got you started?
Adam - An idea. I was lying in bed one night and an idea for a scene popped into my head. Up until that point, writing a book was just one of those, "One day" things. The next day I started writing, and I haven't looked back since.
A Few important lessons you have learned along the way
Adam -
(1) While you don't need qualifications to write, a good book on the subject helps you avoid many of the mistakes new writers make.
(2) Ergonomics! You'll likely be spending a lot of time typing, so make sure you're in a comfortable position, or deal with the consequences. Trust me on this.  *Stretches back, winces.*
(3) Despite what your mum/dad/friend thinks, you DO need to edit once you're finished. More than once. ;-)
What priority writing is in your life at the moment?
Adam - The order is: Family, writing, reading, being a nut, everything else.
Is it a hobby, career, potential career?
Adam - It's a mix of the last two. I'll need a few more books out before it becomes a real "career," but that's the ultimate goal.
Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life, regardless of financial / popular success?
Adam - As long as I have fingers, I'll write. That said, I could probably type with my toes, and speech recognition software is pretty good these days...
I write for enoyment, as well as the possibility of a career, so yes, I'll write no matter what. :)
Anything else you may want to add:
Adam - No llamas were fired out of cannons in the making of this interview.
Except that one.

Adam Slade

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Guest Post - Jamie Debree: From Serial Story to Novella: The Evolution of Tempest

Thanks so much for hosting me, Dolly. I always love visiting your blog. :-)

When I first came back to writing after a long hiatus, I looked hard at why I wanted – needed - to write. I determined after some serious soul searching that not only did I need to write for myself, but I also wanted to entertain people. Would I write if no one was reading? Probably not. So I decided to launch a serial story on my blog, for anyone who happened by to read. That first one wasn't very good, but I learned a lot writing it, and determined to do better with the second.

So the next time, I used the free Create-A-Plot course (http://hollylisle.com/index.php/Workshops/learn-how-to-create-a-professional-plot-outline.html) from Holly Lisle's web site to literally pluck a plot out of thin air and create my first scene outline. That's how Tempest was born.

From reading other serial works online, I knew that the most important part of writing a serial novel was to hook the reader both coming and going. I needed to draw them in at the beginning of the scene, and leave them wanting at the end so they'd come back again for the next installment. That had to be blended with a sentence or two of "reorientation" for each new installment so readers wouldn't have to go back and read the last chapter to jump  right in. It seemed to work well – readers were commenting, and coming back for more week after week. I loved drafting Tempest and I decided to clean it up for publishing after the draft was finished. Because the entire draft had already been published on my blog, it wasn't eligible for traditional publishing – so I decided to self-publish.

Naturally, those scene transitions that work so well in serial writing to reorient readers who have, in essence, walked away from the book and come back don't really work at all in a more traditional format. I basically had to rewrite each transition between scenes to remove repetitive names, actions, and extra information that was no longer necessary. In some cases, this just meant cutting a sentence or two, but in others, it gave me the opportunity to expand descriptions make the prose both richer and tighter. Description is not my strong suit, and I have to add a lot when I revise my own work.

Something else came from those serial transitions that I wasn't expecting. By far one of the most common comments I get about Tempest is that it moves so fast – people can't put it down. I guess I sort of planned it that way, but only insofar as I wanted people to come back each week for the next scene. I wasn't thinking about a linear book when I wrote it, but the same transitions that kept people coming back to the serial apparently pull people along through the book. Basically, I "fell" into that writing style through serializing the story, and I'm glad I did. 

I'm very pleased with how Tempest turned out, though I can't read it again because I'm absolutely certain I'll find more things I wish I'd changed or improved or fleshed out. One thing is for certain though – I'll keep serializing drafts for as long as people will read them. Aside from allowing me to share my work with those who might just surf by the blog, it's been an excellent learning tool to help improve my writing.

Tempest is available in ebook and paperback at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jamie-DeBree/e/B0040048K4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
or in multiple digital formats at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21024

Connect with me through my web site: http://jamiedebree.com, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NovelistJamieDeBree, and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JamieDeBree

Friday, 10 September 2010

Your Writing Journey: Guest Post - Effie Collins

Q: What do you write?

A: Horror, dark speculative fiction and poetry of many kinds.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Since childhood. I can't even remember a time in my life when I didn't make up stories.

Q: What got you started?

A: Reading and writing go hand in hand. My parents were both avid readers and my mother taught me to read when I was very young. I caught the reading bug and a drive to write came with it as naturally as fish swim in water.

Q: A Few important lessons you have learned along the way.

A: Never give up. I know it's cliched and cheesy, but it also happens to be true. You can't give up just because something isn't going right the first time.

You (the writer) are never critical enough with your own work. When I read something I've written, it always makes perfect sense to me. Of course it does... it came from my head. Always, always have someone read your work for you. It might sting at first, but your story will be better for it and you will become a better writer because of it.

There's always a different way to say the exact same thing. Just because you have a good sentence doesn't mean it's the very best sentence. Try reworking each sentence while you are in the revision process - you might come up with something better. Or shorter. Or more descriptive. The first way isn't always the right way. Except when it is, of course.

Q: What priority is writing in your life at the moment?

A: It's a top priority but I won't say that it's number one. I have a family and children, so they obviously come first. But it's way up there. Top three.

Q: Is it a hobby, career, potential career?

A: It's hard to say. It's really the only thing I've ever wanted to do with my life.

Q: Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life, regardless of financial / popular success?

A: Absolutely. I'll always write, no matter my situation in life. I may write less at times, but it's as much a part of me as my lungs and I could never just stop. Why would anyone want to?

Additional comments: People tend to forget that writing is an art form, but writers are artistic people - and artistic minds need to be fed. Walk a lot, visit museums, read widely, surround yourself with art and beauty (though that beauty needn't be the traditional sort). Artists are inspired by the things around them and we are artists. Act accordingly.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Guest Post Series Coming Up

I loved the last Guest Post Series about why people wrote the Genre they wrote.

Now, I'll be hosting a brand new guest post series where we will get an insight into Why People Write? I've already got some guest authors lined up, and I will be sending a few more requests. If you would like to participate (and I would love for you to do it), send me an email at lostwanderer5 [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will send you the questions.

This series will start on Friday 10th of September, and there will be a post every Friday for the foreseeable future.

Hope you all are entertained, inspired, amused by the series.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Editing - Full Steam Ahead

Editing of my NaNo2009 novel has started again with daily productivity. I never stopped working on it, but to get back to working on it daily is great. It's made me get back into my story properly again. I would love to have it finished by November, but I am more concerned about quality than deadline, so I will do my best to have it ready by November, but if I feel it needs more work then it will get more work.

First half is all quite solid in plot-terms so that needs more cosmetic edit now, and a good polish. But in the second half, especially towards the last third of the book, I am including new scenes, so depending on what happens there, might change things in the rest of the story. I am hoping these scenes are going to make the climax more exciting, as currently, things are perhaps not as hard as they could be for my characters :-)

Oh yeah, and I love these people. And their world. I want to live there. Hell, I want to be them!!