Monday, November 29, 2010

What I Learned From NaNo

As the final hours of NaNoWriMo come to a close, I must take a few moments to reflect on the experience. Don't worry ... it' ll be short. ;)

For my very first NaNo I have to say, it was pretty darn fun. I was as dedicated as a working mom can be, and even finished with days to spare. I've never written a first draft with a deadline before--well, not with a thirty day deadline, anyway. So knowing I had to have the 50k words down by Nov. 30 was a little daunting.

However, I think it really pushed me to get the story out. I feel bloody awesome! I just finished an entire story in a month and now I'm ready for the first round of edits! *grins* Now, I'm not one of those peeps who think that, now I have my first draft, I'm ready to query. I'll put my ms through a few rounds of revisions and beta readers. I'll even take a month break from it so I can return with a fresh perspective.

So what I've learned from NaNo, is that I can write a story pretty quickly if I know what I want to happen. I went in with a full chapter outline and character sketches. I never got writer's block because I knew what was going to happen (for the most part). With each chapter I set the scene, then let my characters have free reign and see where their conversations took them.

A little about my WIP--the story formerly known as Sapphire--I changed the name to Starsong. What do you think? Does it have any appeal? Before I wrote the story I wrote a logline, which pretty much sums up the gist:

All-American teenager, Wynonna Pinks, never expected to fall in love with the oddball neighbor kid. As if teen love isn't intense enough, her new love's devout Muslim upbringing will make some awkward waves for them in their small Bible Belt town, leaving them no alternative but to focus on the harmony that brought them together in the first place.

It's a contemporary literary story, so it focuses mainly on dialogue and the angst of a teen romance with conflicting religious backgrounds. The focus is not on the actual conflicting beliefs of Islam and Christianity, but on the ordeal of trying to make a relationship work when everything is against it.

So that's it. I'm wrapping it up at just about 70k words before revisions. I'm sure it needs some major work after  writing it so fast, I don't even remember everything--which makes it exciting during the first round of edits ... then by the fourth time around I wanna puke... lol!

Thank you, NaNo! I've learned that I can crank out a story with dedication and diligence. But with the understanding it is nowhere near ready for submission. I'm looking forward to tweaking it into shape.

How about you? Did you learn anything from NaNo? If you didn't do NaNo ... what are you working on? Tell me everything!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Puppeteer

HI, all! I'm back from the decadence of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, greenbean casserole, pumpkin pie, etc .... Wheew! Has to be my fave cuisine of all time ... good ol southern Thanksgiving. And, we're officially all decorated at my house. My kids had so much fun yesterday getting the Christmas decor out.I just love the warm glow of colored twinkle lights in my living room.

Anyway, I've been reading the book Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott. Long overdue, I've had it on my shelf for weeks but hadn't had the chance to delve in. Have you read it? It's awesome. If you don't know, it's a writing guide and I highly recommend it. In one of her chapters on plot, she brings up a really good point that got me thinking. I wondered if any of my writer buds were guilty of this too...

In the third maniscript I ever wrote, I tried my hand at an adult political thriller--something I love to read, but never envisioned actually writing. This was back before I really learned how to polish my craft--I was just a fledgling with a dream of writing a novel--and not truly understanding what it takes to craft the story.

In Bird by Bird, LaMott talks of those writers who have a good, strong plot to their story, but they force their characters to follow the plot. This leaves the characters hollow and it makes the writer the God of their story--controlling everything and not allowing the characters to develop and make discoveries and revelations of their own. LaMott is adamant on focusing on the characters first, then the plot and everything else will come naturally.

Wow, I really thought on that for awhile. I was totally guilty of that with the thriller I tried writing. I had a great plot and lots of suspense and secrets that I unveiled sparingly along the way, but I was forcing my characters to do what I wanted. I was the puppeteer, pushing them along and pulling their strings to move in the direction I demanded. I can see it now, but back then, I had no idea. I was seduced, consumed, and enchanted by my plot. How terribly egocentric of me!

Well, hindsight is always 20/20, or so they say ... and I know now I can go back and rewrite the heck out of that story and I may just have something. I plan to, once my WIP is finished, and this time I will let my characters have more control. I've learned a lot about character development since then, not by reading writing guides, but by writing new stories and letting my characters interact--giving them room to come alive.

By the way, I'm literally two chapters aways from finishing my WIP (the NaNo project formerly known as Sapphire.) I did an Amazon search yesterday and learned the title of Sapphire is already taken. So I've got some new ideas in the works. No big deal. This one has been a really tough one to name.

I'm looking forward to revisions all next month and hopefully queries in January. I'm hoping to make February my NaNoQuerMo month (idea stolen from Tracy at Forever Endeavor) an anyone who thinks they'd like to join me in my query endeavor just let me know and we can make it a joint effort!

Also, sidenote, there's still time to enter my GIVEAWAY. In order to qualify you must leave a comment in that post. Old followers get an automatic double entry into the pot.

So tell me, my friends, are you or were you ever a puppeteer? Come on, fess up ... we all have our writing faux pas along our path. If not a puppeteer, what mistakes are you guilty of and how have you learned from them?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Character Questions or a Question of Character?

So I stumbled upon these questions the other day, I think on Julie Musil's blog ... it was a link and I copied down these nine questions to ask your characters in order to gain better insight on them. I love these kinds of things. I've found that writing my first draft--after doing brief character sketches--gets the ball rolling.

After my first draft, and once I've gotten to know my characters pretty well, I start a series of interviews before I go in to do revisions. That way, I can tweak away to make sure their essence rings through in the story.

I thought it'd be fun to not only leave you this short list of character questions, but to answer them myself so you can get to know me better.

1. How do you learn best?  I'm a hands-on, visual person. I have to see it, and best if I can try it. Then, I never forget it.

2. How open are you to new ideas?  Very! I love new ideas and have a very progressive way of thinking.

3. What's the first thing you notice when you walk into a party? Open spaces. I hate crowds and I always go for a opening. But I love parties, too... as long as I've got my space.

4. Is one sense more developed than the others? My hearing has probably been dulled from my early years of concerts, raves, and loud parties. My smeller is pretty average. But my sight has always been 20/15. I can be at a rowdy, crowded party and I'll notice a little spider in the far corner of the ceiling.

5. Do you notice problems around you? Always. I have a strong sense of conflict in the air as well as empathy for others who are feeling down. My daughter takes after me with this. She's 4 but I can see the same trait in her already.

6. Optimist or pessimist? Optimist

7. Are you more interested in past, present, or future? Future

8. How do you decide if you trust someone? Vibes. I pick up on peep's vibes. If it's really negative I don't trust them. Otherwise, I'm a really trusting person.

9. Are you a deliberate, careful speaker or do you speak without thinking? My words are usually well chosen, though my hubby would probably disagree. ;)


Regina Linton is having a giveaway on her blog, Unsettled, so feel free to click over and check it out!

Also, there' still time to enter My Favorite Things Giveaway... just click on the pic to the right.

If you're American, wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday with lots of good food, family, and friends! I'm off to see Harry Potter at the Imax today (my Bday gift from my son). YAY!


                                                         
                                    

Do you have any methods on building  your characters? Any great questions you ask them? Please share ....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Favorite Things GIVEAWAY!!!

So super-excited to announce my first ever giveaway!! Oooo-eeeee! Thank goodness you're here!

 *greets with warm embrace*  *smooch to each cheek*



Big, warm welcome to all blog joggers!
              
   

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to look around, and by all means enter My Favorite Things Giveaway for a chance to win some groovy prizes. Then come back here for your next stop on the Blog Jog : http://serialcentral.wordpress.com/ . If you want to get to Blog Jog Central for all the blogs participating, click on the pic above. But first! Check out what I'm giving away ....

Since November is my favorite month, and in honor of American Thanksgiving and in celebration of my birthday (coincidentally on the same day,) I'm rolling out a few of my favorite things to giveaway as a HUGE thank you for following, commenting, and supporting my little ol' blog. :) I've arranged for the gorgeous Vanna White to present the lovely prizes for you. (Do I have connections, or what??) *wink wink*

Take it away, Vanna ....



*in Vanna voice now*  Thank you, PK. Six lucky contestants will win one of these great prizes:


**  A $ 10 Starbucks gift card




** 2 Bars of your choice of luxury All Natural Handmade Soap from Natural Mystics

** YA debut novel from author Jennifer R. Hubbard  The Secret Year

** Women's Fiction novel by NY Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch, The One That I Want

** Harry Potter Deathly Hallows original score CD 



** Your choice of classic Out of Print tee (the coolest tee-shirts boasting classic novels)                                     



*back in PK voice now*  Thank you, Vanna! Is she great, or what??

So, six winners total and all you have to do to enter the pot is one of four easy options. (or you can do all four for more entries and a greater chance to win!) Everyone is welcome to participate!!

1. Be a follower and leave a comment on this post. Welcome to new followers!!! (old followers get an automatic extra entry. Don't worry, I know who you are. :)  )

2. Visit the pro teen self-esteem Facebook page, F.L.O.A.T., here and click LIKE

3. Tweet about this contest with a link back

4. Blog about My Favorite Things Giveaway or add a link on your blogroll and link back here

If you do all four of these, your name will be entered into each pot four times. Six pots total (only one winner per prize ) SO that means you have a chance to win one or more of six prizes!! Remember to leave a comment on this post by December 1. And let me know how many entries you've earned.

Drawing will be held on Thursday, December 2, so check back then for the big announcement of winners!

Thanks again for all your support. This is my little way of showing you how much my bleeps mean to me and how much reading your comments makes me smile every day! Best of luck, and if you're new here... THANK YOU! I look forward to making your virtual acquaintace. :)




My Favorite Things - Sound of Music

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Keep On Truckin' ...

Not my ususal post for a Wednesday. I miss doing the Weekly Spotlight, but it will return first week of December. So many excellent blogs out there, I'm anxious to dole out more Oscars. :)

Today's my day off from my regular job ... you know, the one that pays the bills--that ol' airline gig of talking on the phone at 3am. *rolls eyes* BUT, being the dedicated Nanner that I am, I dragged myself outta bed at 230am and put myself to work on my ms.

Well, okay, I admit, at first I got caught up on reading a few blogs and checking some emails. I was totally procrastinating because, quite frankly, I just wasn't in the mood. I've been cranking out chapters and having such a good time with it ... I guess I just hit a speed bump. Bound to happen.

Seriously, I'm at 45k words already, so I'm not worried about making my word count at all. Plus, I knew going into it that my story would be over 50k. I'm thinking more along the lines of 80k after some revising. That's a realistic goal, and in all honesty I haven't had any problem with word flow or ideas or dialogue .... Until today.

Whew, child! I just couldn't get it going. I wasn't motivated at all. I felt stuck--trying to get over the hill. I wrote a little, and peck, peck, pecked along with no real zest or gusto. I considered calling it quits. I went over my chapter outline again. Man, I just wan't feelin' it.

                                                     

BUT,  I forced myself to keep typing. I didn't give in. I reminded myself that it didn't matter what happened on the page today, that I'd just let my 2 MCs chat and see what happened.

OMGosh! It worked! After chugging along for two hours, I had a major breakthrough between my MCs. There was a revelation and moment of truth and even an exchange of amorous words. Oh, it was so fantastic that I almost had tears in my eyes. Which just goes to show, sometimes the best remedy is to just write and let the characters do their own thing.

Of course, I may go back and read it and think, WTH??? But for now, I'll relish my accomplishment for what it's worth. So, my fellow writer friends, when you're feeling the slug of unmotivation, I leave you with these words of wisdom: KEEP ON TRUCKIN' ! You'll get there, too.

Got any words of wisdom for me??

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quick and Easy Contest ...

Okay, so it's not mine, but it is one of my fellow bleeps, Caitlin Darrell, down under in Australia.

Check it out, it's super easy! And to give you a little extra motivation, how can you resist any contest that starts off with a picture like this:

                              

LOL! I love it! Anyway, click on the pic above to get to the contest at Caitlin's site and enter for the great prizes.

I'll be having a contest of my own later this month, so check back for that around the 21st.

What about you? Know of any good contests going on? Share them with a link here, please!

Monday, November 15, 2010

From My Private Word Reserve ...

Wow, I've been away from the blogoshpere all weekend. Been sick--I'm talkin' laid up in bed sick. But recovery is in full swing! I know I've missed a lot of great posts from all of you, and I hope to catch up with it all over the next few days.

Don't forget WriteOnCon chat is tonight. I'll have to miss it this time since I work at 3am tomorrow. I'll be paying catch up with that as well. My NaNo project is in good shape. I'm really diggin' my story ... lol. Hope some others do too.

So what's my private word reseve, you ask? Some of you may do this too: keep a notebook or file of words you like to use. I refer to mine all the time, and it's just a plain old spiral notebook, which works best for me. Inside I have names for future character use, exceptional adjectives (for minimal use, of course,) some antiquated words for fantasy stories, and my fave punchy verbs.

I'll share a few with you each week:

Punchy Verbs

lunge    sweep    scatter    ram    quake    scrape   probe   strain    stroke   scavenge   grunt   slather   prolong  itch       grump   fritter    quarrel   nag      slobber   twitch   snatch   squirm  toss          sift       gleam    flash


Do you use any of these? Feel free to add them to your own word reserve. I have plenty more I'll share another time. It's so important we use verbs that say it all instead of modifiers tacked onto them. It makes a huge difference.

What about you? Do you have any faves you'd like to add to the pile? Please share!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Put Your Sneakers On ...

That's right, some of us are going on a jog ... a blog jog, that is. It's super easy and there's still time to sign up if you're interested. It's a great way to learn about new blogs and get some more attention to your own.




Just click on the Blog Jog link above and it will take you to the right place for more info. Or click this link to sign up. The actual day is November 21, so should be a fun time meeting new bleeps and seeing what else is out there ... I know, like we don't have enough already, right? Well you can never have too many friends and/or connections if you ask me.

Also, if you didn't get a chance to already, check out this Kristen Lamb's Blog about maximizing your social media. She has some fantastic advice and her posts are always super helpful.                               

That's it for me today. Short and sweet ... You're excused to move on down the yellow brick blogging road. Have fun! Have a great weekend, and if you're doing NaNo, how's it going? If not, how's your WIP coming along? Mine is almost halfway done, so excited about it!!


                                        

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Far Would You Go?

So the other morning after writing for three hours straight, I was enchanted by the charms of the sofa and remote control. Hey, the kids were in school and  the morning was mine to behold. I should've been writing more, but I was burnt from staring at the laptop screen.

Oh the joy of sinking into the sofa, remote in hand, for some quality vegetation. Pure bliss. Funny, when you spend so much time creating your own story and characters, it's such a treat to be entertained by someone else's for awhile. That old movie, Tootsie, was on--just starting--so I set down the remote and got comfy.

I've seen Tootsie before, but it's been a long time, so I didn't remember all the dialogue, just the premise for the story. Why am I telling you about it?? Because Dustin Hoffman's character, Michael Doresy, is someone to make note of. A talented actor with a difficult-to-work-with attitude, Michael finds work by impersonating a woman, which earns him a role on a successful soap opera.

Michael's agent warned him no director would hire him because of his reputation for his argumentative side--I mean, this guy argues about why the sky is blue, kind of thing. But Michael is a really good actor. He knows it. And dressing up as a woman is the only way for him to get work as an actor. Of course, there's all kinds of problems this causes--trying to juggle both lives as man and woman. But Michael is so passionate about his work, he is willing to suffer through it.

                                                  

There was a scene with Michael and his agent talking about why he would want to continue impersonating a woman just so he can act. Michael was so passionate--he said he'd rather be acting as a woman than not acting at all. His point being that the work--or the art of it--was so important, that he was learning the craft even while impersonating the woman. That's how far he'd go to be able to act.

Then once he was used to being treated as a woman, he felt like he had a message for other women. His passion ignited even further and he was doing something he loved while trying to help other people. Wow! Is that like a dream or what?

Reason I'm bringing up Tootsie in the first place is because I was applying it to life as a writer. How far would you go for your craft? Are you passionate about it? Willing to step outside your comfort zone in order to make things happen?

Sometimes that's what it takes. And I don't mean impersonation ... lol , that is, unless it really floats your boat ... But I mean doing whatever it takes to be an author / writer. Maybe it's skipping that dinner out, or that movie you've been dying to see. Maybe you give up your entire day off to research and query agents, or to finish that WIP that your editor's been waiting on.

Passion fuels our desires. Passion makes things happen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's the Great Space Coaster .... Get on Board!

Remember that show? Some of you may be too young, but it was a regular morning show at my house growing up. I loved the little stick figure named Leroy. And of course the catchy tune at the start of the show. What does it have to do with my post today? Absolutely nothing. Just thought of it ... At 3am crazy things go on in your brain...lol.

Earlier in October I posted some on the webinar I did with kid lit agent Mary Kole. Today, I'll share with you what I learned on the YA market. Not everyone is a YA writer, I realize, but even if you've ever considered it, this is great info:

YA  -  * Two kinds of YA, including readers ages 12 and up, as well as 14-16 and up.
           * Word count should be between 45k-90k
           * Anything goes! (paranormal, dystopian, contemp, etc.) Just write what's in your heart.
           * Don't be edgy for the sake of being edgy
           * YA is about authenticity and relating to your readership
           * Teens have a very sensitive BS monitor (they know when it's not realistic)
          
There were some questions on the paranormal romance category--why it's so popular and if it's going to last... 
Mary said teens (especially girls) have a romantic obsession and these stories allow them to live vicariously through fiction. These stories have lots of action and fights. Paranormals allow teens to explore the dark side of humanity. It's still a very strong category, even if it may seem overdone at the present.

Still lots of room for contemporary (yay for me!). But contemps need a strong voice, with bigger and darker conflicts. Teens don't want %100 happy ending anymore. It's all about the bittersweet endings. Teens realize life is more complicated.

If you are writing YA, keep in mind the teen mindset:

* They go through lots of firsts (love, conflict, being a hero)
*They feel everything intensely (all those new feelings are rocking their worlds)
*There are many highs and lows everyday
*They're in the moment. Relationships are very important. (all kinds--friends, love, parents)


 (One of the best teen movies ever, Pretty in Pink. I know, so 80s, right? What can I say, I grew up in the 80s)


Best advice from Mary:

Be authentic. Do research with real teens. Don't preach or moralize. Pay attention to the guidelines for age range. Really get in their heads.

And here is what she says separates hopeful authors from actual authors:

* Character
* Voice
* Authority (notice word author in authority)

Identify these elements and transfer them to your own writing. Writing is an art/craft that takes time.

As I've learned since my first story. Yikes! I started off writing YA, then dabbled in some other areas, now I'm back to YA... it seems to be where my heart is. It's such a sensitive time in a person's life, and I love the idea of helping to mold young minds.

What about you? Why do you write the genre you do?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Story Check

Whether you're cranking out a first draft this month, or revising away at a finished one, we all have to remember the key elements that make up a story.Keep them in mind as you write and revise:

STORY ISSUES

Does the plot make sense? Is there strong narrative? Identifiable conflict? Pressing story question? Is the reader engaged from the first scene? Pacing good?

CHARACTERS

Does each character have a purpose? Are they defined by their dialogue and actions? Are their feelings shown rather than described? Are their traits explained on a need to know basis throught the story? Is your MC likeable or at least sympathetic? Does each character have unique mannerisms? Does your MC have a goal and arc (meaning they end up different than when they started?)

DIALOGUE

Is it believable? Does it flow? Does each character have his/her own voice? Does it move the story forward to reveal chapter question? Is there a nice balance between dialogue and summary?

SCENE

Does it contain elements of location in time/space; action; dialogue? Does each scene have tension? How about the right number of beats for pacing?

GENERAL

Are you RUI? (Resisting Urge to Explain)? Are you showing instead of telling? Do you have enough interior monologue? Are you looking for verbs to use instead of adverbs and modifiers?

                                                 


Whether you're a plotter or panster, you have to have some kind of basic knowledge and idea before you create a story. I'm a little of both. I plot out a chapter outline of how I want each one to go and what scenes to expect will carry the plot.

Then, while I'm writing the first draft (which I'm doing now and using NaNo as an excuse to stay motivated) I create the scenes and just go with it. So in a sense, I'm flying by the seat of my pants while I write, and often digress because I can't get my characters to do what I need. LOL! Isn't it funny how they have a mind of their own? Sometimes that's a good thing.

I'm already thinking of places in my WIP where I can cut, and I think I even have too many characters. I'm going to have to cut a few who I wanted to use to add some flavor, but they just don't further the story at all. I'm a third of the way in ... feels great! Now, to get writing ...

How about you? How's that WIP coming along? Are you like me and already finding places or peeps to cut?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Confessions of a Blogoholic

Well this reduced blogging thing is becoming a drag ... I miss you, my lovelies ... I find myself longing to see my fellow blogger friends while I'm knee-deep in my WIP. Okay, okay ... I'm overdoing it ... lol ... but I do wish I had more time to spend visiting all your blogs. :(

Even so, I try to get a few in each day. Plus, I'm 10k words into my NaNo project so I'm definitely being productive.

Oh, and if you were kind enough to visit my last post on Weekly Spotlight where I discussed Jessica Morrell's writing guide and blog, you should know she stopped by here and read it for herself. And as if that wasn't cool enough, she also mentioned little ol insignificant me in her post and linked back to my blog. Total coolness.

On a separate note, I had a little idea for a series of posts and I'm calling it Confessions. Why, you ask? Just so you can get to know me better and I'm not boring you with posts on craft all the time.

So confession time! And to kick it off, I'll let you in on a deep, dark, dirty little secret about me .... Nah, I don't that would be unwise. (Sorry, I'm a total teaser.) But seriously, folks ... I do want to share little tidbits, so let's see .... um, okay ... yeah, this one'll do:

When I was a teen I used to watch that movie Romancing the Stone every night before going to sleep. I don't know why, really. I could recite it by heart and for some reason it just sent me off to dreamland within the first hour or so. Hmm...maybe that's why I wanted to be a writer. Maybe I saw a little of Joan Wilder in myself. Who knows! But if I grow up to be a successful novelist, I owe it all to that movie. Lol. No, not really. But it is ironic how it played such a part in my life.

                                          
(And yes, sometimes I make myself cry when reading my final drafts.) lol!

That's it. Just a little something to get the ball rolling. Now you can look forward to my confessionals so you can learn some other quirk. But hey, we all have them, don't we? Those little oddities that make us who we are.

Care to share any of yours? I'll show you mine if you show me yours .... let's get to know each other better, shall we? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Spotlight

Whoa! Day three of NaNo is here .. Tell me how those overworked brains, cramping wrists, and aching arses are holding up? I feel pretty good considering I've been working at 3am and writing in between. (For the record, I work from home and take calls from UK/Ireland while it's their regular hours.)

Sapphire is coming along nicely ... so much so that if I only had more time to write, I could get it all out with days to spare.

Time is my challenge, never story.

So as usual I'll post my Weekly Spotlight today. If you're new to my blog, each week I shine the spotlight on a blog I follow and tell you why I follow it. Due to the constraints and limited blog activity from NaNoWriMo, this will be my last Weekly Spotlight til December. I'd hate for the blogger in the spotlight to miss possible new followers because so many are concentrating on NaNo right now.

But in the spirit of all things writerly, I thought today would be the perfect opportunity to tell you about a blog I stumbled upon a couple of months ago. How did I stumble upon it? Found the web address right on the back flap of her book ... easy as pie.

And the Oscar goes to .....



JESSICA PAGE MORRELL   of   The Writing Life Too

*applause*   *whistles*    * cheers*

Have you read her book, Thanks, But This Isn't For Us?  Funny story, I was waiting for the doors of B&N  to open so I could write in the coffee shop one morning, and they had their clearance book racks out front already. I hadn't planned on shopping, wasn't even looking, but by chance my eyes fell upon the binding of Jessica's book at the bargain price of like $4 or something ridiculous. Flipped through it, couldn't stop reading it. Bought it. Devoured it over the next few days. No joke.

I don't know if it was just the right time or what, but everything she writes about why writers get rejected just clicked and resonated like nothing else ever has. I've read the usual writing guides and gained something from each one (list on my Writers Bookshelf link to the right) but Jessica's book just spoke to me.

                            

This is the book cover. Click on it and it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase for a really great price. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor.

What's more, is you can get Jessica's sage advice from her blog as well. I am serious when I say she always has something helpful to writers on her blog. She is a writer. And editor. And she lays it out in a real, down to earth way ... plus, she's funny and witty. I could champion her to you all day, but don't take my word for it .... check out her blog and read for yourself. Buy her book (one of a few) and take the opportunity to polish your craft just a little bit more. She's got all the inside secrets and she tells it like it is.

On a separate note, I'll be on reduced blogging schedule for the remainder of the month, so if I don;t make it to your blog to comment, I apologize in advance. I plan to get around as much as I can in between work, family, and NaNo project. But I'll be swinging in full force again once this first draft is out.

Is there a particular writing guide that's spoken to you about craft? There are so many, and it can;t hurt to read them all, but I imagine it's like the feeling you get when you find the right agent ... the feeling that someone gets you, even though they have no idea who you are.


                                       

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet November

Ahh ... my favorite month of the year! If you're American, a time of Thanksgiving. A time for family and delicious food. (Pumpkin pie is my weakness!) It's a time when the weather changes for good, leaves are crunchy on the ground and everywhere you look there's a russet-golden hue.

It's also the month of my birth (which coincidentally falls on Thanksgiving Day this year.) And if you're a geek like me, it kicks off the Season's Greetings--the movies, music, decorations all come out by Black Friday in our house.

But this month is something else special:  NaNoWriMo. It's my first year participating. Of course, to make things more interesting my shift for the airline just changed back to 3am start time five days a week. So my internal clock's gonna be all jacked up while trying to write madly while kids are in school... when I should be sleeping, but you know what?? I'll sleep when I'm dead. That was my motto in college anyway... LOL!

So if you're a Nanner, best of luck! I think it's brilliant to have NaNo right after Halloween when there's an abundance of candy and chocolate to get us through it. My kids raked it in last night. Our neighborhood had a haunted house, haunted trail, and spooky animatronics show.... all in walking distance. It was so great!!

Are thos some scary trick-or-treaters or what??? :)                                                   

I was reading some of The Lovely Bones yesterday. OMGosh! What an amazing story and piece of work that is!!! Have you read any of it??? Read it!! I can't wait to read more, though it will have to wait for now. But I was reminded how we should always write from the heart. The author's words moved me. Our writing should do that also.

Are you writing a story right now? If so, yes, get your plot, characters, dialogue all right and tight. But don't forget to write from the heart. It's what makes good storytellers, amazing storytellers. It's what sends shivers down our spine even when the story's not scary.

What about you? Any words of wisdom you'd like to share that helps make a story a story?? I'm all ears!