Confession

I have a confession to make. It’s been a long couple of months, and I’ve been working at finishing “Witch’s Curse” but I’ve been struggling a lot more lately.

I put up “Witch’s Sacrifice” a little over a month ago. I hoped that over the course of May, and maybe June, I’d finish the second novel. I have been working on it, but I am not putting nearly enough on paper to finish it by the end of June like I wanted it to be.

The edits struck a little harder then I thought they would. Not in a bad way! It’s just that now when I start writing I hear that nagging voice a lot louder in the back of my head… not that word again. Don’t do that. What are you writing? It’s obnoxious and I hate it.

Before those edits I wrote what needed to be written knowing that they would be fixed in post. That’s how you’re suppose to write. Do one draft, read through it and clean up the little things, or the glaring issues, then send it to an editor to have the grammar, spelling, and consistency examined. That’s the way I did it before, and what allowed me to finished NaNoWriMo several times. It’s what got me through the original book, writing every day and knowing that even if I wrote down crap at least it was written and I could go back later and fix it.

So why do I hesitate so much now? It’s my own brain, that internal editor that keeps asking “how should we say this thing now?” And he’s so insistent, so zealous that he is making it tough to write some days. I will sit down, read the last paragraph, and know that I need to write the next scene. I know that character 1 is going to talk to character 2, they are going to get into an argument, and then they are going to fight. Easy, right? I have all the pieces, now just right it.

Then I get stuck on the minutia. How do they walk into the room? What are they doing? Who is all there? Things that I need to know, but things I usually discovered as I was writing instead of before. I’m not sure which is better. I’m not sure if there is a better. I do know it’s slowing me down right now.

I do know one thing that is helping: “Take Off Your Pants” by Libbie Hawker. A few chapters of this each day seems to be get past the internal editor, and right back on track.

Today I practiced breaking out of that internal editor, giving myself permission to suck again. I wrote another 1500 words, and I’m going to try and do another 500 before bed. The goal is to get to 3k a day by the end of next week. That’s what I need to do to feel like I’m actually making progress on the stack of books I want to write.

The struggles will continue, I’m sure, but they are worth it. The end goal, finishing another novel, is worth every frustrated moment.

NaNoWriMo day 1

Looking forward to todays word count.

First, let me just say…. I’m TIRED! We went to a Halloween party last night, and got home at a reasonable hour (11pm). But then I kept waking up. I also had to get up at 6am to drive my SO to work. I was already awake, and had been for a couple hours so I didn’t mind that. But later, sitting at my desk at work, sipping a steaming cup of coffee…. boy did I want to be home in bed.

On the plus side… I loved my costume.

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I have had several people encouraging me to write a full length (80k+) novel, so that’s what I’m shooting for. I’ve been mulling over this story for the last few weeks, trying to iron out some of the kinks in the plot, and figuring out sub plots to add substance, not just word counts, to the story.I am prepared, I think, for NaNo. I have a full plot, it’s all set up in scrivener for easy writing.

It is a romance set in a fantasy land with mermaids, men that turn into hawks, giant squid like creatures with massive tentacled arms, and magic, lots of magic.

This all sounds fun to me, and kind of scary to be trying something so massive so soon after finishing “Forgotten Ones”. But the end result will be so worth it!

For an 80k+ word book I will also be getting an editor, one way or another. Which means it won’t be out any time soon as I will want to take my time and do things right. But it will be out eventually, and hopefully be a the best quality product I have put out.

But… I think I’ll put the first chapter out sometime after NaNoWriMo and a complete edit. So at least you can look forward to that.

Rainy NaNoWriMo

I have a hot cup of tea, the steam wafting up in ribbons of creamy goodness, and the rain is falling just outside my windows. The slick black pavement, and vibrant fall leaves… all of it just makes me want to settle down with a good book, and read.

I love the rain. It’s a calming force that washes the world clean. Everything smells fresh, and the world looks a little clearer after a good rain.

If only it wasn’t so cold.

For the last week I’ve been writing the plot for my NaNoWriMo book. I want it to be my first full length book. (Well, first finished, edited, and published.) That means I’m shooting for 80k, 50 of which I’ll write during November. Finish the rest, and a lot of editing, come December.

This is a major undertaking for me, and a big step in terms of publishing. Everything so far has been novellas and short stories. It’s time I did something full length.

I’m also going to keep working on some of my short stories, and hopefully publish a few more, but my main focus is going to be the NaNo project.

And what is my NaNo project this year? So glad you asked!

“The Mermaid’s Curse” is a paranormal romance. A young mermaid has been cursed by a powerful entity seeking a physical manifestation on land.

I’m still working out a few of the details, and a lot is going to change over time. I will probably share a few of those details, and maybe a first chapter here as NaNo continues.

And yes, this one also has a battle scene but the focus is more on the relationship between the mermaid and a young man who has vowed to protect her at any cost.

Should be fun.

How to See

Sometimes stories don’t need words to be poignant. Like this short animation.

The imagery evokes the imagination. We can see the world unfold around her through sound, touch, and smell. We know that her world is completely in her mind, so she can be wearing a wizards outfit if she likes. The airplanes can be big whales swimming through the clouds. It’s all in our perceptions.

It also shows that she is a happy and cheerful little girl. If she had been scared the imagery would have been darker. The colors pale, brown, or black. Instead we see bright waves of color, and fantastic creatures.

In this little film, with only one word ever spoken, we get a glimpse of her personality, her imagination, and her faith in her little dog. It truly is good story telling.

This actually touches on a lesson I learned in high school. One of my english teachers took out a lot of pictures and lined them up around the room. She then had us write something about one of the pictures using everything except sight.

I think I wrote about a picture of a canyon. The mottled colors of red, orange, and brown, the blue sky peeking out between them still seems fresh in my mind. I remember thinking of whistling winds, and textures of rock. The cool smoothness of the walls, and rough ground cracking beneath your feet.

“How does a blind man see color?” she asked us. “How do you describe chocolate to a person who has never tasted it?”

Many writers take for granted that those reading our stories know where we are coming from. And this convention actually keeps the stories going. If you had to stop every ten words and explain to your reader exactly what you were talking about you probably wouldn’t get very far. Being able to say “She walked up to the door in her red pumps and knocked,” knowing that your audience will know what red, pumps, and a wooden door is, allows you to concern yourself with the story, and not the technicalities of language.

However, it is always good practice to describe a scene without using sight. If you can add the smells, sounds, textures, and feelings of a place, then you are reaching a little farther, drawing your reader in a little deeper, and truly making something we can lose ourselves in.

YA to the Rescue

Young Adult (YA) books have been inspiring a lot of movies lately. Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Twilight to name a few. These stories, though classified as young adult, actually have some hefty themes to them. Love, life, death, war, power, and laced with a little magic.

I happen to love the Harry Potter movies. They were imaginative, and beautiful, with a captivating story. Perhaps they were “young adult” when first written, but I, along with thousands of fans, watched as Harry, Hermione, and Ron grew into wizards capable of defeating even the largest army.

I suppose YA gives you a very simple way to add growth to a character. They simply grow up. However, the way in which they grow up, and the reaction of the characters to growing up can make a huge difference on the story.

We have Hermione, Katniss, and Bell. In these three stories you have two very different types of character. The first two are strong, independent women who fight for their lives, and the lives of those they love. They go to the ends of the earth to do what they think is right. Then you have an angsty teen who lays down and cries herself to sleep.

It is my opinion that Twilight did well for two reasons. First, young teen girls almost always go through the “Omg, he broke up with me, the world is ending” phase. I admit it. I did it. I am glad I grew out of it. Second… Vampires.

Almost all stories will see the growth of the characters. They will have obstacles to overcome, and their attitudes and beliefs will be tested. How they react to those situations… Well, as the writer it is ultimately up to you to decide that.