Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Draft Pep Talk

So I officially started on the first draft of my next work in progress. What does officially mean, you ask? It means three things:

  1. I’ve decided on which project to focus on (having wavered between 3-4 valid ideas).
  2. I filled in a couple of note cards with events I *think* will happen.
  3. I opened my pocket-sized notebook where I record my daily word counts, turned to a brand new page and wrote the tentative title to this WIP at the top along with the word count total goal and my completion date goal.

Now, as I get ready to plunge in, meeting those daily word count goals, I’ve decided to give myself a little pep talk of ideas that I’ll want to keep in mind as go along.

  1. Don’t get too upset whenever you fail to meet one day’s word count goal. Especially in the beginning. No matter what, the start of a story always takes more time than the end. There’s a reason for this. The start of the story involves the heaviest amount of world-building / character building. Think about it. I’ll probably spend a good hour or so a day, just figuring out the first and last names of important characters and places. But toward the end — not so much.
  2. Remember that if I’m not having fun with a particular scene that I’m writing then nobody else will either (hint: skip those).
  3. Ask and know the answer to questions right from the start. Why does this character care about that? Why does this character behave in this way?
  4. Don’t forget the description (one of my chronic failings whenever drafting).
  5. Write every day. Don’t slack. Don’t get distracted. Use the time you have now. There’s nothing better.
  6. Don’t come to the page lightly, which is one of my all-time favorite quotes from Uncle Stevie, and the one I struggle with the most when drafting. Don’t just write words because it’s easy to write them and because you’re trying to meet some word count goal. Don’t just slip along, mindlessly, uncaringly. Take this writing business seriously.
  7. Have fun. Do it because you love it. Because it fulfills. There’s no other reason to do it. None at all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Aren’t You Glad the World Didn’t End?

So I’m sure everybody has heard all the stuff about today being the rapture and whatnot. When it comes to my position on the issue, I’m in complete agreement with Jodi Meadows (you can read her op here).

Of course I’m not saying that I didn’t indulge in a little bit of amusement at the idea that the world as we know it would come to an end today, but it wasn’t much. And here’s the reason.

I understand the fear that motivates people to believe these things and act this way.

I understand fear a lot, because I’ve spent a lot of my life conquering my own fears or at least facing them. It’s one of my favorite things to do — like the first time I stepped into a boxing ring knowing that the person in the other corner really wanted to punch me. A lot (and for the record, she most certainly did).

 I think one of the reasons why I like facing my fears so much is because I get to be afraid while doing it. Sounds weird, right? But it’s true. Being afraid can be a lot of fun, almost addictive even. This love of fear may be one of the reasons why most of my published short stories are in the horror genre. Because fear is fun.

But being afraid all the time is no way to live. Worrying about THE END OF ALL THINGS is definitely no way to live. Instead, for me, I’ve spent a good portion of today thinking about all the reasons why I’m really happy the world didn’t end. Like the fact that it was warm and sunny, and that I got to spend time with my family. I got to ride my horses, and I’m going to spend some quiet time reading in a little bit and then doing some research for my next writing project (ironically enough, a YA horror). Nothing particularly special or amazing happened today, but it was still a good one. And I’m glad to know that tomorrow’s forecast is probably more of the same.

Happy writing.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

8 Question Meme

Okay, I’ve been tagged to do an 8 question MEME by the fabulous Lori M. Lee (go check out her blog folks). And if you’re not sure what a MEME is, you can read about it here.

1. If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

I’m not sure I would. If I had the opportunity to time-travel, there are about a million other events I’d rather witness like the Signing of the Declaration of Independence or maybe just a visit to an original Shakespeare production, one directed by the man himself. Hmmm….or maybe I’d just go back and buy some stock in Microsoft or Apple.  :)

2. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Hello? Haven’t we all seen and read the horror stories about mucking around with time? I don’t want to inadvertently kill somebody I love because I decided to do something different. And I don’t want to come back to a dystopian present where the world is ruled by power-hungry yahoos like Biff from Back to the Future.

Seriously though, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned too much and become too much the person I am today by all those choices, good and bad.

3. What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?

Hermione Granger. I’m nowhere near as intelligent, but I’ve always been a library/learning/school obsessed nerd. My alternative profession of choice beside writer would be professional student (they have those, right?)

4. If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

Dolores Umbridge. The question  didn’t exclude fictional characters, right? And never have I loathed a villain more than this one. And frankly, she gets off easy.

5. Name one habit you want to change in yourself.

Worrying. It would be nice to be a little more laid back and less stressed out occasionally. But then again, if I didn’t worry, the bills probably wouldn’t get paid on time, and I could definitely give up this whole “I wanna get published” dream.

6. Describe yourself in one word.

Type-A (like how I cheated with the ole’ hyphen there? It’s totally legit; I promise)

7. Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.


8. Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.

I like to hear myself type.

8a. Name at least 3 people to send this meme to, and then inform them.


(some of my fabulous crit partners!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Recommendation — White Cat by Holly Black

I loved this book. Seriously. It was great. The main character, Cassel, is like a young Sawyer (from Lost) mixed with a fresh-out-of-the-military Michael Corleone (from the Godfather).

White Cat has lots of twists and turns, and zero predictability. It’s also already available in paperback (yeah, I’m a little late to the game on this one, but it was way worth it).

Even better, the sequel, Red Glove came out in April. Go check it out!