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    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

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Plotter verses Pantser

autumn-sky

Some writers plot out each detail of their books long before they’ve even started writing. Other writers don’t plot a thing. They just let their characters guide the story. Still others, like myself, are somewhere in the middle. I’ll share the way I typically write my stories:

  1. I come up with an idea and type up a brief summary.
  2. Immediately, I start writing the first chapter.
  3. Usually I get a few chapters in before I realize I need more guidance.
  4. I go and expand my summary and create sections about the “world” of my novel and the “people” in my novel.
  5. Next, I go and write down the names of each character, find a picture that suits them from the internet, describe their personalities and their physical aspects.
  6. Then, I continue writing.
  7. I usually get a few more chapters in before I realize I need to do a short summary of each chapter.
  8. And that’s it! I keep writing, expanding on the document about my book, so I have it for reference.

Important things I’ve realized:

  • If I plot things out too much, I don’t enjoy writing the story.
  • If I don’t plot out anything, I end up wasting a lot more time.
  • I HAVE to have a word document specifically dedicated to important information about the world I’ve built and the people in it.

So I think I’m somewhere in-between a plotter and a pantser. What kind of a writer are you?

Writing Masters: Jim Butcher

 

I was reading some articles about writing, and it suggested googling one of your favorite authors, plus the word writing. I googled “Jim Butcher Writing”, without the quotations.

Google page: http://www.epublishabook.com/2014/06/09/writetip-elements-subplot-writers-writing-amwriting/

 

Product DetailsProduct Details

 

He writes both High fantasy and urban fantasy, but his tips apply to any genre

 

 

 

 

Some awesome pages that came up:

 

Jim’s LiveJournal

He hasn’t been on this for years, and the later posts are sporadic, but he talks about how he plots and writes

http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/

 

This is a blog that lists direct links to Jim’s writing articles

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/10/jim-butcher-on-writing.html

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/06/jim-butcher-how-to-write-story.html

 

Google Docs that someone collated Jim’s tips (Can be saved as a document)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a0ll3XxM5bRyv3xHpNfuRld4q5-9bKpW-K4_LLWESak/edit?hl=en_US

 

Interviews

http://clarionfoundation.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/interview-with-jim-butcher-author-of-the-dresden-files/

http://www.wizardsharry.com/dresden5.html

 

How Jim got Published

http://www.jim-butcher.com/jim

 

Q4U: What authors would you like to see writing tips from?

 

Hope you find these helpful : )

~ Amber

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

Character or plot?

I’m a plotter, I can admit that fully. I like my little road map laid out before I begin writing, even though I know full well that at the end, the book probably won’t look much like my initial outline.

That’s because as I write, my characters take on their own personalities and decide from there on out where they’re damn well going to go.

But being a plotter, I still need to know quite a bit about my characters before I can start that initial outline.

I recently sat down to plot book 5 in my Heart of a Vampire series. I wrote two pages of outline before my heart sank and I showed it to Wicked.

She laughed.

My characters were wimps and the story was going nowhere.

Which is when I finally realized I didn’t know nearly enough about my characters to even begin plotting.

 

So, my Q4U: Writers – how well do you need to know your characters before you begin to write?

Readers – Are you drawn to books with more action oriented plots, or by great characters (or both)?

NANO, Just Writing

The plan for NANO (National Novel Writing Month) is to just write, not edit, not outline, just write.  But how do you just write?  What does that even mean?

When I begin writing, I naturally crave some kind of structure, some kind of guidelines to follow.  Often my characters take me off my decided path, but then, a new path is created based upon what my characters want.  Does that make any sense at all?

BUT, this month I am just writing.  I am creating words on a page, without my usual obsessive compulsive behavior.  I am not going to re-read my work (at least I’ll try not to).  This plan, however, really worries me.  I think I might end up creating more work for myself in the end by doing things in such an unorganized way.  But at the same time, I am really looking forward to trying a different writing process.  Hey, I may even realize I like this way of writing better!

What do you think?  Does writing without a plan simply cause more problems in the long run?

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?

Series Issues

 

Recently, I read a series that came very highly recommended, as well as, part of another series.  I enjoyed both series, but was intrigued by the different ways these two authors created them.

The first author wrote a series that felt almost like a few separate books, with one central character, rather than a series.  As I continued reading books in this series, I realized that every book could stand entirely by itself, which was good in a lot of ways.  But, there was nothing in these books that made me compelled to read the next book.  Once I started reading a book, I always wanted to continue reading it, but I didn’t mind taking long gaps between reading one book and the next.  Still, I felt that creating a series this way would make it difficult to retain readers, unless they were extremely devoted.

The second author wrote a book FILLED with tons of characters and intricate subplots.  I am only a few short pages from finishing this book, but I found the number of characters confusing, and even though I got the sense that a lot of them will be important in the future, many of them seemed to make no real difference in this book.  So, why was I even introduced to them?

I have to believe these characters will be important in future books, but I wonder why I simply wasn’t introduced to them in these books.  Or, at the very least, I wish I hadn’t spent so many pages reading about characters that disappeared in the rest of the book.  But, I did feel compelled to read this book, and I am very excited to read the other books in the series.  I imagine this series has absolutely no problem retaining its readers, because you really want to know what will happen next.  The author does an excellent job creating a lot of questions that leave the reader wanting more.

So, what are your thoughts?  Is it better to introduce multiple characters that leave your readers curious about future books, or save those characters for when they really matter?

It’s Amazing What A Little Time Off Will Bring…

I came back to the Swamp on Sunday after spending the weekend with Snarky at the RWA Desert Dreams conference down in the Valley of the Sun and found the Zombie Horde had finally deserted Dreamer’s little piece of property.  I’m guessing Eerie and Mischevious have been making tracks to the Impentrable Forest considering the path of gnawed bones littering the trail.  Have to love those Piranha Hummingbirds, they clean their dinner plates!  Not to worry, the Prankster Duo has no problem attracting new Zombies, it seems to be an inborn talent of theirs.

So after rounding up the Hellhound, I was pleased to see my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor had managed to keep the Duo busy while I was away.  Seems there was a required marathon of movies involving a horned-helmeted blond with a facination for hammers, a green muscle head with a temper problem, and that dashing king of sarcasm who looks good in red and self perpetuating battery.  Something about all three, plus a red-head in latex and, if I do say so myself, a rather good looking archer gathering for their debut this weekend. The tickets have already been purchased–twice.

In the meantime, Snarky and I attended this conference.  Now you may wonder why two paranormal, urban fantasy writers would attend a gathering of those mavens of love and hard chests, but there are some really good workskhops at these things. Plus we were considering kidnapping a few agents and editors for our own amusement.  Since this time I wasn’t on pins and needles endlessly practicing my story pitch, I was able to enjoy the expierence.  For writers, conferences are like a red carpet gala–you get to meet the actual human that writes those books you wait on pins and needles for every Tuesday.  It can reduce a 41 year old to a 16 year old in like two minutes flat.  It’s so embarrassing!

Anyway, other than the massive amounts of information that I’m still processing, the biggest success I pulled from my three day stint was the eight hour brainstorming session Snarky and I indulged ourselves in.  What was funny was there was an actual brain storming session planned on Saturday night during the dinner.  We got a head start, because that’s just how we roll.  We headed over to the nearest barrista heaven, spent two and half hours there before realizing we might miss dinner, dashed back to the conference, gathered necessary sustanance, then hunkered down in our room and balcony and spent the next 6 plus hours taking everything that had been thrown at us and incorporating it into our WIPs (works in progress).

Doing things this way is a double edged sword.  I was having issues with Shadow’s Moon (Book 3 of the Kyn Kronicles) and by the end of the evening realized why (you really do need a strong villian for a good story!), and now all those pages I’ve accumlated are being moved to the cut pile–yes indeed, we are starting over.  Here’s hoping that since there’s a clearer picture of where we’re going and Xander’s stopped being so damn coy, it will go much faster.  Plus Snarky figured out her sticking point on her hush-hush project.  It’s hard to explain to a non-writer how much fun the expierence was because for some peeps the idead of talking through plot points, character motivation, series arcs, and personalities is just….blehh!  But for me–I LOVED IT! 

Plus it was the most awesomest thing in the world to meet both newbie and not-so-newbie writers and READERS! I swear the writing community just rocks.  Conferences are where no one gets upset if you space in the middle of a conversation, they understand sometimes those voices in your head just drown out those around you.  Plus where else could you chat about what exactly constitutes a psychopath versus a sociopath, or why corsets are a hell of a lot harder to get rid of than just “ripping” them off–think bones and damn tough material? There was even the most entertaining conversation regarding the staminia of the men of the Paranormal community versus the rakes of the historicals–truly riveting!

Now the goal is to make it to the Paranormal Conference next year because as lovely as the RWA crowd was–I think I’d like to expierence the wild, twisted worlds of the Paranorms for a bit.  Think of what it would do to my Muse!  She’d have others to play blade-darts with, they could go on Zombie hunts, and maybe torment a few demons along the way.   Who knows, maybe we’ll get to come back with new alligator boots next year! 

-Wicked

#Amwriting ~ Crows and plotting and brick walls

Well, thank goodness Mischievous is finally back. Although I must admit, I was looking forward to making me some crocodile skin boots.

Now that I mention it, though, I might just be able to…

Erm. Well, anyway. Welcome back Mischievous. I hope your captivity wasn’t too harsh… for the poor people who had you. I mean, come on. Kids couldn’t stand up to that crow’s mouth.

Anyway, I’ve finished the first book in my soon-coming Vampire series. It’s out to the wonderful Dwarves (and edits are already coming back).

The good news is, the book isn’t bad, LOL. I’ll be digging back into edits soon.

But I’m currently trying to write book 2.

I’m a plotter, I fully admit it. When I sat down and sketched outlines for the first three books, I was raring to go. Now that I’m actually writing book two, I realize I just can’t write with a sketch. I need an actual outline.

So, I hit the brick wall. (Don’t worry, I did more damage to it than it did to me.)

I fixed the first few chapters (for now) and am stuck again.

I was planning on trying to smash the wall, but since I have a sick kiddo home today, my well-laid plans have gone awry. The brick wall is safe.

Instead, I’m going to sit down and actually plot out the book. I use skimpy outlines, with a sentence or two telling me what should happen in each scene/chapter. I know we have flying pants writers in this group. And you know what? Awesome. It works for them.

Me? If I don’t have the bare bones of my plot written down, that brick wall just jumps right in front of me.

So, happy writing to ya’ll. Today, I’m gonna plot.

~ Snarky

The Horrifying Blank Page…

So with 2012 off to a stumbling start and the fact that it coincides with the fact that I have to start an entire new book from scratch, I thought I’d drag you along each week as I trip my way down the writer’s path of creation.

From previous entries you’ll have noticed that I thought I was doing well.  I had what I thought was book 3 all plotted out.  I even used an actual outline this time around.  I was so puffed up with a sense of accomplishment, which lasted until I gathered at the Swamp Shack with some of the other Dwarves.  Then my puffiness deflated into an oozing pile of goo.

They weren’t overly mean.  I mean I could hear Eerie whispering with Mischievous and only made out a few words: “How the Fur Flies might work”, Quirky just kept saying over and over again, “No, no, no…”, Smokey perked in with an occasional “Did you say you created a book tree? What’s a book tree?”, Jedi  just held onto her Yoda Zen-like opinion  of “Write, do not write, there is only plot” and Snarky, she kept stroking her whip while giving me the evil eye.  Seriously, really not the normal bloodbath but still…

After much debate, some ducking of flying objects I reluctantly had to admit that yes, this would make a fantastic book 4, and I needed to go back and not cheat my future readers and follow  (no spoilers allowed) this particular character for book 3.

So I spent a few days tossing sharp edged things at the wall to see what would stick.  I scratched out a new plot outline, which was similar to pulling teeth with no Novocain.   So now I have a plot that will work with the overall story arc but I can’t get my opening scene to gel!

My typical application of Lady Clairol is just not up to the challenge of covering my spontaneous eruptions of white hair as I labor to bring forth the bestest opening scene ever.  However, this time instead of worrying over the bones of it, much like the hellhound and his decapitated duck from Christmas, I’ve given my self until this weekend to get it together.  Because come Swamp Gas or Zombie hordes, I will begin this book this weekend.

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