Saturday, March 27, 2010

Insert blog post here

I'm late.  I'm off.  I'm...

Um, you know.  I'll catch up tomorrow.  Um..or so.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things I found wandering around book industry blogs...

Agent Janet Reid tells us to make MORE mistakes, not fewer--great advice for any of us who's fear of "not getting it right" has kept us from getting anywhere at all. 

I've had mixed feelings about starting Wade's story.  On the one hand, I was itching to write, but on the other, any story that I've gotten anywhere on has come from some flash of inspiration, not by following an outline alone.  I pushed out the intro, but since have been writing a line at a time...Seriously...a line, then maybe doing four hours worth of laundry or catching up on Lost or whatever, then coming back to force another line out.  I've been keeping Reid's post in mind to get me to not junk the whole project in order to wait (foolishly) for the type of inspiration I require.

So it doesn't thrill me.  The opening does what I need it to do, and I can edit it into literary joy-joys later.  Maybe it feels like a mistake, but I need to get through it to produce something better.

I've been casually watching Jim C. Hines gather information for a survey of how writer's broke into publishing.  Here's his first results post, complete with graphs!  While the first entry deals with how the writers in his survey broke in--short stories first, no short stories, agent or direct to publisher--the second covers how long it took. 

As you can guess from scattered reviews of books that have just come out mingled with long running series and things that are just new to me, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what's next on the horizon.  Still, it's nice to get a heads up from time to time.  The lovely Tez has a list of April releases that reminds me to put two of my favorite authors' work back on top of my TBR list, and informs me that another favorite has turned to Young Adult books--something I'll be sure to check out. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is it that time again?

I ache.  I'm trying to see it as a good thing since it's keeping me in when I'm supposed to be at a party.  How anti-social does that sound?  Fact is, I do tend to be hermit-like, but this is a kid's party for the nephew I see five or so days a week, and who assures me that I won't be missed tonight. At all.  (I was not too sick to throw pennies at him while he giggled at me.)

Anyhoo, this means I've got a little bit of time alone to write.  What should be recorded about the past week?

~I spent some time working from the villian's point of view; didn't get far.
~Itching to get started, I let someone talk me into doing sprints; discovered that is not my preferred way to begin a story, but it was still good to actually begin.
~It's possible to plot and "pants".  I think.  We'll see if I succeed.  But I need a solid knowledge of the first act--to actually see how it unfolds and what the details are, before I can outline the second act.  I'm thinking a little combination of technique is what I need.

Mostly, I need to get back to it.  Parting thoughts...

From my notes:
John Grisham's Ten Commandments:

(rumored to be sitting beside his typewriter)

Start with action. Explain it later.

Make it tough for your protagonist.

Plant it early. Pay it off later.

Give the protagonist the initiative.

Give the protagonist a personal stake.

Give the protagonist a short time list. Then shorten it again.

Choose your character according to your own capacities as well as his/hers.

Know your destination before you set out.

Don't rush in where angels fear to tread.

Don't write anything you wouldn't want to read.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

pre-coffee process post

OK, I wrote the title then made a cup of coffee.  I couldn't take it.  I'm only a few sips in, so forgive me if I'm foggy.

I stayed up late working on the outline until it became staying up late not working on the outline, or at least hitting a certain block in the road and not making anymore progress.  Maybe my erstwhile title of Queen of the First Chapter should have been Queen of the First Act (all right, sure, maybe I was just a princess).  Up in the wee hours, I finally realized that I've stumbled in this same spot again and again; maybe it wasn't obvious before because I have managed to move a bit past in a story or two, only to hit the middle and stall out (even if I kept writing to the end).

Here's a wiki on Three Act Structure for anyone not familiar.  There are unboubtably better ones or ones more directed toward printed fiction, but again, first cuppa.

So I hit the end of Act One....and I got nothin'.  Zip.  Nada.  While outlining (rather than writing by the seat of my pants) leaves me a little vague on the opening scene--I know what should happen with none of my usual vision on just how it happens--at least I have something to go on.  I get to the end Act One...surely there's an organic "something" that'll rise out of the story....

...That until now has focused solely on the reactions and actions of my main character while the antagonist has sat thumb twittling in my notebook with just a wee bit of diabolical masterminding to get the ball rolling.

Good thing yah can't see me blush. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

The rest of Week 3..and a vampire!

Gotta be quick, 'cause I've been a bad, bad girl.  I cheated.  I should have studied more and rested more and done more story background.  It wasn't all naughtiness; I've been sick and dealing with sick child (who seems determined to defy gravity when my back is turned).  But I kept peeking at a book until I ended up reading it, so I feel like I've committed adultry against my school work, the books that were already in the queu to be read and reviewed, and my own story waiting to be born.

I'd hesitated getting Raphael, and not just because each of my classes demands an uber amount of reading.  The author and I had a...disagreement about a character in someone else's novel.  We were both speaking (well, writing) English, but her words made no sense to me...Until I realized that I was reading the urban fantasy the story's creator meant it to be but she was reading a paranormal romance.  Made me worry about how I would react to her characters.

No need for a genre rant (I've sworn off them, really) because I loved them.  Cynthia Leighton is an ex-cop P.I.--I know, I know, been there done that.  BUT she's her own character, not a rip-off of any P.I.'s we've seen before.  She's "smart, tough, and sexy" without crossing the line into obnoxious.  When a certain powerful vampire (and yes, he's a hottie alpha male) hires her, she holds her own against the creatures of the night with her brain and a few high calibur weapons, and without losing her humanity. 

Check it out.  Urban fantasy fans will find that the heat between Cyn and Raphael doesn't overpower the investigative plot, paranormal fans will find that the heat is worthy of their time.  Readers of either genre, or not hung up on genre at all, will find great character establishment and worldbuilding--a win for everyone.

Now I'm going to go peek at her web site for info on the next book before I finish plotting out my own act one.  See?  I'm still workin'.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 3, part of it anyway

Day One--
I woke to news of an earthquake in Chile.  One of my very best friends is in Chile, so I spent the morning...and afternoon...and early evening hovering about Facebook waiting for news.  I cursed her husband for dragging her down there for a season every year.  I cursed myself for not being psycho enough of a friend to have gotten in the way of that.  I prayed.  Now I'm writing this, not so that she'll read it someday and want to kick my ass, but because reading this someday might bring back that sense of moving from task to task, tearing up, coming back to the computer in case there's news...

What are those lines in the U2 song?  "Every artist is a cannibal/every poet is a thief/all kill their inspiration/and sing about their grief."  I don't know about killing my inspiration, but now that the news has reached me that my girl is okay, I'll all right with mining those feelings later.

During my aimless wandering about the house, I turned on the TV (catching up on Past Lives via Hulu might have distracted too much from Facebook hovering).  There was an old episode of Grey's Anatomy playing a song that clicked...

One of my attempts at writing Wade happened during NaNo.  In those early hours of the month, recreating the story by the seat of my pants, I found her falling for the most inappropriate hero.  (As a total aside, that scene/storyline was surely born of the earlier mentioned best friend and I walking down a stone paved street in Austria and falling hopelessly for a gorgeous priest/monk as only teen-aged girls can do.  Almost 20 years later, it just appears in my writing.)  I'd been considering dropping it; it had been fun, but...That woman's voice and those lyrics told me keep that bit.  And that led to a few things that will have to plotting and the start of a soundtrack where I least expected it.

Day Two--I started off with some story work, but, knowing that I was clueless on a paper due Tuesday.  I wish I were still clueless.  It ate my whole day, and I still don't feel prepared to write the thing.  Or, to be more honest, I expect As out of my papers, and this material makes me feel like I'll produce a C.  I want to fight Andy Warhol, mostly because he's dead growling at him is less dangerous than growling at the man who will grade my assignment. 

I hear Nathan Fillion's voice in the other room, so I'll cut my bitching short and move on to...

Day Three--I've got many hours left on this day, but I stumbled on a post about a guy who has 11,000 rejection letters, and if that's not worth sharing, I don't know what is.  If nothing else, THIS is the guy I need to track down to teach me about organization.  How does he find the time?!  Sure the message is supposed to be "keep at it!", but I'm finishing my bachelors almost 20 years late, with nothing ready to send to be rejected, while he's gotten seven degrees and that many rejections plus 100 shorts published.  Damn.

These distractions aside, I've been itching to actually write the fiction I've been working on.  I'm off to create that infernal paper so I can get to it.