Friday, November 26, 2010

Why I stopped writing all those years ago.

Back when I was young and newly maried I took my hand-written novel (the 189 page one finished my junior year) and began to rewrite it. I had matured since then and had plenty of time. I worked, kept house and had only one kid. I also had time to watch TV.

One morning I was watching some morning news program and they interviewed a bestselling author. I of course was interested, they were an author and I wanted to be one. I should have turned the blasted thing off. I would have saved myself some serious pain and many years of doing nothing.

That author said one thing that stopped me in my tracks and my MS about half way done.

They said something to the effect of, "being so completely origional that every sentence and every word must be unique, origional and creative. That you would never publish a book if you couldnt write like that." Well I heard that, and my muse, which is a fickle little thing, just rolled over and died right there on the spot.

"What the heck?" I thought. "I can't write a whole 300 pages with every sentence so origional that no one has ever written it like that before. There's no way, I'm not smart enough to to that," and with that thought, I put my MS away and didn't think of it for years.

Well time went by and I had more kids and I got side-tracked by becoming a breastfeeding counselor and that kept me busy for years. (Not that that is a bad thing I'd like to think I have helped many people through my years of service.) I know my kids apreciate(d) a mom that is at home and involved in their lives.

Years went by before I pulled out my old writing and started to read it just for fun. When I happened upon an old story I got chills and turned to my computer. "I love this story and I think I could finish it now." was the thought. Within a few months I had written about 106 K words and was feeling pretty good about it.

It was at that time I started to really look at the world of writing and realized that, that one author was WRONG.

Say your character has run into a gastly demon, and if they are to live, they must get out of there. Your sentence is going to sound alot like this:

"He ran."

Now putting a little twist on it, you could say:

"He bolted."

OR "He rushed from the area."

OR you could add a little detail to the origional "He ran." by adding something to the effect of "He ran as if the devil himself was after him."

Still no matter the words used, the cadence created, or whether you add metaphors or description, the sentence is still "He ran."

THAT is part of what I didn't understand about writing. And I had no confidence in myself to tell that TV where to go and that frankly I didn't believe it. I wasted years of time I could have spent writing believing that it was too hard for me to do and I wasn't smart enough.

Thank heavens I know better now.

Have you ever run across something that kept you from doing what you should do? What obstacles have stood in your way in achieving something you want to do?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Epic NANO fail

So It's November again and that means it's National Novel Writing Month.

It's the month in spite of the hollidays and Thanksgiving around the corner you are expected to write a 50,000 word novel. Well, in my insanity I signed up thinking that with the baby being fairly new I'd be able to sit in front of the computer for a couple of hours a day and at least get something written.

No one told me in advance that my 5 of my 7 kids were going to go through a horrible coughing/puking virus one at a time. Or that after weeks of cleaning up puke I'd get the virus myself. Or that once that had run through my family my 13 yo would end up in the hospital with apendicitis.

The nerve of my crystal ball!

Needless to say, I have only prodouced about 2,500 words, and only 306 of them were in the hospital. Last year I typed 2,700 words the first night!

Oh well, there's nothing I can do about real life. My control exists only in my books.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The C. Michelle Jefferies version of Project Notebooks.

Okay here is my disclaimer. I am not the origonal crerator of these notebooks. I saw them on Nancy Campbell Allen's blog and went gaga over them. I am one that NEEDS and uses my notes as I write. In these notebooks, I saw a way to keep organized and keep all of my projects seperate.

I am also not the creator of the Story Structure I use for structuring my books, or the Dramatica style of plotting or any interpretation of it. However I will shamelessly tell you that these two styles are what I use to organize and create my stories.

So back to the Project Notebooks.

When the local huge super store had their spiral notebooks on sale at back to school time I grabbed two 25 notebook packages of them. I use these notebooks all the time, and at 15 cents a piece it was a steal.

Now, because I am sort-of craftsy, I took some scrapbook paper and covered the front of the book by cutting a piece and gluing it on the cover. This makes them more appealing. :)

Next I glued into the inside of the cover my Table of Contents. Mine consists of:

1 general outline/story structure
2 character pages
3 brainstorm
4 chapter summaries
5 running edit
6 research

Second I glued in the Story Structure outline I created from Larry Brooks Structure lessons. Since this is mymain plotting tool and the one that i rely on the most I put it in first.

The pages after that (in the general outline/storystructure section)I glued in my prompts I created from learning about Dramatica. While it has some amazing questions and things to prompt and make you think, it isnt the steructure I like so I decided that I could use this more for character arc and character development.

What this does is prompts me to think about my story and work things out before I sit and just start hammering the keyboard. Even if you are a seat of the pants writer, I suggest you at least have some idea of where you're going.

The next thing I did was section off each section according to the Table of Contents using a piece of scotch tape folded over the edge of the page. that way I can get to the section easier.

If you are interested please follow my links and create your own notebooks and study out and create your own plotting style/recipie. The least I can tell you is it has worked for me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.......

If all of the books and authors that I love and inspire me are urban fantasy/paranormal. Then why am I writing tech suspense?

Probably because the tech suspense genre is really small and new acording to some people.

Most likely because hard core sf intimidates the heck out of me.

Definately because the characters in my head won't stop talking to me.

Such is the life of an author.

BTW my NANO is a paranormal. I had to see if I can do it.