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Gearing up for NaNoWriMo? Here’s some links to check out…

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

It’s that time of year again, rushing up fast to knock us on our ass.

50,000 words in one month.

Not just any month, but November, with the begining of the end-of-the-year holdiays, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping… yeesh.

So how do you write 50k in one busy month?

Planning. At least that’s the key for me.

How much planning do you need? That depends on if you’re a pantser or a plotter.

I round up some links you might enjoy checking out to gear up in prep for NaNo.

Kristen Lamb has a whole Nano series going on last week, from making sure you have a road map, to getting to know your characters.

Jami Gold discusses Fast Drafting (as created by Candace Havens)

And an interesting post I found discussing NaNo ~vs~ Fast Drafting by Tori MacAllister, written last November.

~ Enjoy and happy planning

Indie-Credible Authors and Giveaway

indie-crediblebanner

 

Come join me at Wild Wordy Women, celebrating Indie Credible authors. There’s lots of giveaways and great new authors to check out. I’ll be at WWW every Sunday this month, and I’m giving away 2 $5 amazon gift cards to random commenters on the posts. Comment on multiple posts this month for more chances to win : )

And come back to my blog throughout the next couple of months for some awesome blog hops – a TON of awesome prizes, including Kindles, gift cards and so much more : )

(Follow the blog to have posts go directly to your email so you don’t miss any 🙂

NANO- National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month!  We Evil Dwarves are proud to say we are participating this year (and November is ALMOST here).  I have prepared my blogs ahead of time with a plan, so I can spend November working on the second novel in my new series.  But, I do have some reservations.

First of all, you have to understand my writing process to understand why something like NANO could get me a little stressed, so here it is:

  1. Wake from an intriguing dream.  Write it down.  Mull it over.  Write it down again, with some of the weird that doesn’t make sense when you wake up stuff, gone.
  2. Start writing.  Understand my character and my world.  Adjust how the character changes what I originally thought.
  3. Stop writing.  Create a general outline for the remainder of the book.
  4. Start writing again.  Make it to about the halfway point in the book.
  5. Stop writing again.  Go back and edit/revise the first portion of the book.
  6. Rewrite the outline with more details, adjusting for the changes that have occurred during the writing process.
  7. Start writing again.  Write until the end of the book.
  8. Finally, the hardcore revising begins.

Okay, so I never claimed my writing process was neat and organized.  What is your process like?  Also, this is why I fear NANO so much.  I am expected to go against my obsessive writing behaviors and just write for an entire month.

I don’t know how successful I will be in this process.  Our expectation is to write 50,000 words in one month, BUT it has taken me three months to write the first 50,000 words of my current novel.

So, wish me luck!  I hope I can proudly say, come the end of November, that I accomplished my goal, but if I end up mumbling something less than 50,000 words as my accomplishment, don’t judge me too harshly.

Also, does anyone else plan to participate this year?

Rate My Coworker

Wouldn’t that be nice? Suzy (fake coworker) would get ten different reviews from ten different coworkers. Even if she was the best worker ever she likely would have rubbed someone the wrong way, and gotten a bad review from that person. Of course after that the working environment between those two would likely be icy. We see reviews in corporate America and even in the education system. Still most of the time we are not rating someone who has the same job as us, we are rating someone in a position of authority i.e. manager, professor, and those reviews are likely anonymous.

So to get to the point as writers we have a fairly solitary work life. We don’t have coworkers as we are likely independent contractors. Huzzah, I don’t have to wear pants to work! Back to the point, the closest thing we have to coworkers are other writers independently contracted as well. Yet unlike in other occupations you will often see other writers reviewing books in the same genre they write. So my question is: is this appropriate?

For me it’s not. I want to build a network of both writers and readers and I think that reviewing leads to ostracizing potential allies and readers. Fact is I don’t like every book I read and I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. I’m not saying I’m against reviews, reviews help authors but I’m not going to take a shit where I eat. I’m classy like that. I leave reviews to the readers. So what do you guys think?

My Evil Plot

Okay, it’s probably not evil, but for me plotting is evil. I am a panster at heart and I find it very difficult to force myself to have a cohesive plan. But after last week’s revelation I decided I needed to try something different. Now that I have Scrivener (plotters personal holy grail) I have no reason not to give it a go. For those of you not familiar with Scriviner it has a side bar where you can can put various chapters/scenes/notes/research all in a cohesive manner. This is difficult to explain so I highly recommend checking out a Youtube video or going to http://www.literatureandlatte.com/ to browse a bit. 

I also decided I needed to analyze my characters more and decided to see what the web had to offer me. I found this character worksheet http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/p/character-worksheet.html and have begun the process of psychoanalyzing my characters which is both fun and tedious. I have to admit I am learning a lot about my characters. For instance I had no idea that Peg’s favorite color was orange or that she was a big Stephen King fan. She also collects tea cups (fun fact for all of you). 

So far this journey has been fun and I have to admit my favorite part is finding all of these wonderful tools online. Writer’s are truly fortunate these days because we have so much information at our finger tips. That is if we have access to the internet (I’m going to assume that you do if your reading my post). I have found a lot of things this past week that I believe will make my novel rock my socks off and hopefully one day a larger audience. 

Getting Tipsy

Recently came across this article: “Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck.” It’s worth reading it all the way through, but man did most, if not all of the tips resonate with me.  A few I haven’t thought of before, but are still good points:

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

I don’t really think of an audience when I write, but when I do, it is a massive crowd, spanning my parents, husband, college friends, past English teachers, etc., etc.  And sometimes the thought of “What will they think?” does paralyze me, stops me, and makes me double think.  I don’t think this is always a bad thing.  Sometimes I am pausing for a reason. But more often than not, it’s an exercise in fear.  I really like this advice, to think of one single reader, imaginary or not.  It makes the process more personal and less intimidating.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

I’ve heard the advice read your writing out loud before.  Generally, I don’t do it.  It seems silly to me–how many of us read books out loud anymore, except to our children?  However, the thought of trying out dialogue makes sense, since, by definition, dialogue is spoken.  And since this is one of  my weak spots, I’m resolved to go back through while editing and “act out” my little dialogue sections.  Since I’m writing teenagers, I think this may especially help me get them to a more informal level of speech.

Take a look at the rest of the tips.  John Steinbeck is an author to take seriously, although beware his disclaimer some years later about any writing advice:

“If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”

So don’t go looking for a magic “recipe.”  But a little advice from seasoned authors never hurt anyone.  I just wished I’d learned that myself a little earlier in my writing career.

What tips and advice do you find helpful?

May the Force be with you,

Jedi

The Goode Olde Days

Been fighting off a cold for the majority of the day, so instead of helpful writing tips/not so helpful writing woes, you get a funny video about technology instead:

 

 

Have a great week!

May the Force be with you,

Jedi

Link-mania

Hey all!

I don’t have a profound post for this weekend, mostly because I’ll be out of town again this upcoming weekend. Sadly, unlike our last jaunt, we’re attending the funeral for a family friend who was killed in Afghanistan last week.  If you can take a moment to spare a prayer, thought, or whatever suits your beliefs, for this family and his widow, I’d greatly appreciate it.

So instead of some pithy thoughts, I’ll share some links which I think will be a great help to your writing (or, you know, a great distraction).  First, Patricia C. Wrede’s blog.  The author of the famous children’s series, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Wrede is one solid fantasy writer who blogs regularly with tips on how to improve your own writing and editing.  One of her latest posts was about how to handle prologues, which I found extremely useful.  Although Wrede has done some things with her storytelling lately that I don’t approve of (that’s a post for another day), she’s a darn good writer and a great resource.

Next, the ultimate distraction: TV Tropes.  Be warned, when you click on that link, you will end spending hours browsing the site, checking out different tropes (or devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations–not necessarily, cliches, as tropes are neutral).  This wiki is fun, although depending on your mood, it can either be helpful or hurtful.  Just remember, like Wicked said a few posts back, even though everything’s been done before, your story is still important and your success on putting these elements together, plus your own voice, is what will help you sell your book in the end.

I think my work is done here for now.  Now I’m off to travel through hyperspace and honor a fallen soldier.

May the Force be with you,

Jedi

Originality

I enjoy following other blogs and I ran across one that had me alternating between laughter and indignation.  It belongs to KT Grant and can be found at  kbgbabbles.blogspot.com.  Her latest post WTFckery or Not? You Decidewas awesome.  Point number 3 is where my blog comes into being.

I’m going to apologize ahead of time on this particular post and preface with “THIS IS JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION”.  It is not to be taken as if the voice of something higher (or lower) made a proclamation.  I’m a writer, I’m a human and strangely enough I have opinions on things.  Some opinions are a bit louder than others.

For those who know me, they understand my deep ick level for the Sparkly Vamp series.

It’s not fair to get into my irritation of the major inconsistencies of some of the supernatural mythos that abounds because even I have to admit that every writer has the right to change whatever they want in their own worlds.  Doesn’t mean every reader has to like it.

However, I do have to take exception of comments made by the personification of the premier Sparkly Vamp when he tried to say his storyline was being copied by other such stories as True Blood and other titles.

I was shocked.  Seriously, how much does he really know of the whole vamp story history because it doesn’t take much to realize that Charlaine Harris’ books were out WAY BEFORE Stephanie Meyer.  Such ignorant comments are infuriating. Especially because I’ve tried so hard not to publicly shred this series.

Here’s my take on originality.

At some point I heard the following comment, “Every story that will be told, has already been told previously.”  When I first heard that I thought, “Nah…they’re wrong!”  Yet, as the years have gone by and I gained deeper insight into the craft of bring words to life, I realized–they are absolutely right.

There are basic story themes to every story, the top three being:

Good overcomes evil.

Boy gets girl.

Underdog saves world.

What sets a story apart from another isn’t the basic story, it’s the characters, the world they live in and the voice they tell it in.

I love Urban Fantasy and if I really look at it, most of my favorite books revolve around the same plot line.  There’s a big bad out to dominate the world, but the flawed hero/heroine has to save the day despite messing up big time.   So if the plots are the same, why read so many different authors? Because their characters, their worlds, their voices enthrall me.  Each takes a different perspective on the same problem.  Each approaches the solution a bit differently and their characters stand alone.

So Sparkle Boy–instead of trying to say your story line sets the bar, why don’t you try being an original character that stands apart from the crowd? Have a little more depth and little less angst, be a a little more human. You might get lucky and finally lose your sparkles.

IT HAS ARRIVED!

IT’S HERE!  IT’S HERE!

SHADOW’S EDGE MAKES ITS DEBUT ON  NOVEMBER 1, 2011!

You must run right out and get it! Right now! Put down that cup of coffee, it will still be there when you get back.

Zip over to Barnes and Noble if you’re a NOOK-er, Amazon if you prefer KINDLE, or Black Opal Books if you like holding the actual book in your hand!

Go…go on…go get it!

Not only is this happening this week, but THERE’S MORE!

Yes, indeedy.  I am appearing at: Marketing For Romance Writers Blog  on Friday, November 4th! So go check out my post!

BUT WAIT! THERE’S STILL MORE!

Can’t get enough of me? That’s okay, because I’m making the round on NOVEMBER 8th at the following:

The lovely Michelle Miles has invited me over to Ye Old Inkwell.

And for those who like their romance so hot even the local Fire Dept. isn’t enough, I’m dropping by

Menagerie Authors for a little chat!  But ID maybe required!

So find me this week! It’ll be fun!

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