Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Try your hand. . . Author Bios

I've been thinking about this for a while. Trying your hand at something where everyone who reads this blog is asked to contribute in the comments.

To start this off I am asking about short author bios.

The rules are simple, one to two sentences. List your name, a vague location, your genre, a little about yourself. See easy peasy.

To get us started I will give you mine.

C. Michelle Jefferies writes science fiction, a stark contrast to her rural life in south eastern Utah with six kids, house, husband, and pet birds. Although her heart resides in the stars, she has been known to be distracted by romance and the occasional vampire story.

Okay everyone start posting, I am curious to see what you are going to come up with.

Just a note. . .

While The Shattered Dreams Experimant is still flitting around in my brain nothing says die to a MS more as 1) Nano and 2) thinking that you can't write romance. I promise you I will get back to the experiment and if we can't use Shattered Dreams I will proceed with the same poll system and planning with another story.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Untill it shines. . .

One thing that some writers need to learn is that when in the revision and editing process there is a point where if you do any more revisions,your going to lose your voice. Or that editing it over and over is actually destroying the story.

In my opinion, you can only cut out so many words and add so many things and change the sentences around so many times before it all starts to sound like drivel.

For example I have sent a few of my first chapters out for critiques for the LDStorymaker Writers Conference First Chapter Contest. One of the stories was wordy and I spent some time revising those sentences so they read better.

The origional sentence read:

I could tell that my avoidance of the subject was garnering me unwanted attention from the man who held my existence in his hands.

I revised the sentence to read:

I could tell I was garnering unwanted attention from the man who held my existence in his hands.

See, less wordy and reads better, While still getting the message across. However I could have been tempted to revise the sentence again to look like this:

I was getting unwanted attention from him.

Sure it's cleaned up and nice and precise, but I have lost my voice by cutting it too much. There is a point in which we need to turn off the internal editor and close the notebook or word program. Is that story perfect? I don't believe it is, but at least it still has voice.

There's a time where we have done everything we can to a MS and it's time to put it away and start sending it out into the world. Time to let your MS stand on it's own two legs and be what it was meant to be.

While a shiny new car is nice to drive, the older car you have driven for years, has character.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I say write it anyway

There are two things that I disagree with most authors on. One, (write what you know)you've all ready heard me talk about. The second is that unless you know the story is good, publishable, awesome etc. don't write it. Now, granted if your a famous author and only have time to write the sequel or the new idea you pitched to your publisher definately dont write it.

But if you are an author with some time or a writer who's not famous or busy yet, and you get a good idea I say play with it. Write it out play with the plot and the characters. It can't hurt, and someday you might just come up with that blockbuster idea that makes you famous or rich or both.

Why do you ask? Even if you don't become famous or rich, your muse has been fed. You have broadened your horizions. You have added words, and I believe the more words you type, write, create, the closer you are to being published, rich and famous. Even if the story peters out at 40,000 words or less? You ask. Yes. Even if the story never sees the light of day? Yes. Even if the story is silly, or dark, or unnaturally you, or anything not normal? Yes yes yes yes.

To deny a story life, I think, supresses that creativity we as writers have and to deny is to starve that muse. Because as well as feeding that muse by reading listeing to music and watching movies. Creating also feeds that creative side of you by validating what you have inside you.

Why do I tell you this with such conviction? A few rough draft reasons. I have a few stories that I have written as the whim has hit me everyone of them is good in its own right. I have a witchcraft story and a few romances and two vampire stories sitting there on my laptop just waiting for the right time to pull them back out. So what if ALL of them need to be rewritten? The stories have merit. All of them. Do I worry that with the vampire craze that my story may seem redundant? If they sparkled yes, I would worry. But my vampire world is diferent and amazing and I will not abandon a good story because some people think that the trend is dead. There's always room for a good story especially when its amazing and diferent.

So to my fellow writers out there, feed that muse, write that story, don't deny a good story life because someone says it's not good enough, or all of the other excuses that are listed somewhere. You're a writer, wrte it. Isn't that what we do?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Story Structure and writing synopsis

I have a friend who is entering a publishers open submission period. We were talking about the submission process. The problem with this submission is that instead of the traditional two paragraph blurb about your story, in a traditional Query, and a one-four page synopsis. They want a two-three sentence blurb, and a three paragraph synopsis.

I was in shock for a few moments. It's hard enough to summarize a 300-600 page book in a few pages. But to do it on three paragraphs!!!!!!?????

The guidelines intrigued me, so I thought I'd tackle the problem myself as a challenge, especially if I ever need to do the same thing.

After an evening staring at the guidelines I was beyond frustrated. Three paragraphs is just not enough to properly describe a complex story. Then I had the epithany.

"Story Structure." Doh! I almost smacked my head with my palm.

What are the most important parts of the story?
The introduction.
Plot Point #1, along with the reactive stage.
The mid point and the active stage.
Plot point #2
And Resolution.

Now the idea became clear. Use the important parts of story story structure to write your three paragraphs of synopsis.

So I sat down and in three sentences I wrote the two main plotlines and a sentence to draw them together.

Then I wrote one paragraph about the characters and thier desires and inner demons.

The second paragraph I wrote the first plot point, the reactions, and the midpoint.

The third paragraph I wrote plot point #2 and the resolution making sure I told them the end of the story.

I couldn't believe how easy it was once I applied "Story Structure" to what I needed. I'm in shock at what my knowledge of "Story Structure" has done to my wirting. I know I probably sound preachy but I am sold. It has changed everything I know about writng. Try it for yourself, I promise you wont be disapointed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What makes a writer publishable.

I've been writing for 20+ years, granted, I have been working towards publication for about 6 of those years. As I have attended diferent conferences and been in diferent writing and critique groups, and worked on writing myself, I have seen something interesting. Those writers that have sucess in thier own writing are those writers that are adaptable. Those writers that are willing to learn and change EVERYTHING they know or have written when they learn something new. Those so dedicated to the craft that they are allways seeking to grow as a writer. Those are the ones who I have seen actually get published.

I have been in three amazing writers/critique groups. The members are such hard workers and so amazingly tallented. I have felt the loss when I have moved or the group broke up.

I have friends that have completely changed a book from first person to third, I have friends that have taken a memoir and changed it to fiction, I have a dear friend that has taken an almost complete book torn it to pieces and is in the process of rewriting it again. I have other friends that have taken fledgling writers under thier wings in spite of thier own time constraints and fostered the skills and knowledge they need to be a better writer. I have many other examples but these are the ones that stick out in my head this morning.

To the writer that is willing to make HUGE sacrifices to get your books ready to publish and actually published I salute you. You guys are my heroes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Right up my alley. . .

As many of you know I am highly influenced by Asian things. I saw this commercial and absolutely loved it. I hope you do too.