I’d love for you to come visit my new site.
“Two-thirds of writing is revising.” If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that I’m in the revision process and that quote speaks to my inner angst-ridden writer soul. I’m slashing scenes, adding dialogue, and changing the course of the plot. I’m trying to get it completely finished by mid February so that a family member, who is a technical writer, can catch my grammatical mistakes. Here is the problem: I’m only seventy pages into a three hundred page manuscript and I can’t seem to get past it because I’m changing from first person point of view (POV) to third person POV and change a large portion of the plot.
Here’s a look at my word count over a one week period, where I’ve written/revised at least two hours each day. The numbers represent the word count for that day’s work: Monday-80,553; Tuesday-80,321; Wednesday-81,105; Thursday-80,979; Friday-81,512; Saturday-81,397. Do you see the pattern? It’s cut a scene or a chapter and then write, write, and write.
If you ever thought that it’d be easy to sit down and whip out a well-written novel, let me tell you it takes lots of tears, mounds of determination, and the ability to plug along at the keyboard even if you don’t feel like you are accomplishing anything. But I’m not complaining because nothing in the world would convince me to give this up.
The other day I blogged about the new group I joined and all the perks that came with it. A new member, Adam, introduced himself to this group and here’s the experience he brings to all Guppies. According to him, “My background includes more than 25 years of experience with weapon systems including small arms, artillery, armor, area denial systems and precision guided munitions. Additionally, I am a certified small arms instructor…” I’ll admit I’m not sure what precision guided munitions or area denial systems are, but when I read this, I uttered an outloud wow. Immediately another member whose writing a cozy mystery asked a question regarding a situation involving a shotgun, an accidental misfire, and a car. He responded, after he put in a load of laundry, (yes, he does it all) with a comprehensive answer that made sense to those of us who are innocent in the ways of weapons. Impressive.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking that’s great for you, but what about us. Well there’s good news for you too. He started a blog. One that talks about all of the stuff he’s an expert in. And if you’re wondering about the answer to the shotgun question, go check out his site because he posted his answer there for all to see.
Early in January, I bit the bullet and joined Sisters in Crime. An official group that has members whom are published and unpublished authors, librarians, and mystery/thriller readers. I joined one of their sub groups the Guppies not sure what to expect. The Guppies are a group of unpublished or recently published authors who are sharing their journey together and I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I’ve learned.
The group mostly communicates through a yahoo group meaning that most of their comments are through emails. I wasn’t prepared for how active they were and had to quickly set up a system to manage all of their correspondences. Some of the emails are member updates, but quite a few are writing questions or problems and because you are on the list, you get the benefit of hearing the answers. The members also switch manuscripts with other members for a critique and I just read that you can contact one member to get in a critique group. Of course that interests me, although, I’m not quite there yet. Another advantage is that they offer classes and I’ve been able to access through the main SinC site, videos of speakers and other resources. I must say both groups are wealth of information.
Overall I’m very impressed and can’t wait to become more involved with them. So to all of you who aren’t sure about joining a group that fits your genre, I say take the leap of faith and who knows you might just be as happy as I am.
I collect quotes and when I was younger, I compiled a binder of them. However, with my attention diverted a thousand different ways, I tend to scribble quotes on whatever is handy. I stumbled upon this one while searching for a piece of paper to write the grocery list on and thought I’d share it with you. Unfortunately, I didn’t write the name of the person who said it.
“That which we obtain too easily we esteem too lightly.”
I make sacrifices with my running to get the pay off. I run odd hours or in cold weather and I don’t always want to do it. However, I do want to accomplish a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, a full marathon and one I’m debating is an Ultra which is 50 miles. Now some of these I’ve already accomplished but I continue to run them because I can improve and because I love the feeling of achievement. Without that sacrifice, the accomplishment would diminish.
What are you willing to sacrifice for and why?
Yep, it’s official, I’m procrastinating adding a chapter. I can’t seem to see the scenes in my head and every time I try and write it, it sounds artificial and stiff. I know the scenes need to be added or the story will come to a screeching halt, but as an organic writer, I’m struggling with forcing it.
So, I decided to procrastinate a little more and throw these questions out to blogland. Do you ever struggle with this? And if so do you force it? If that’s a yes, did it turn out well, or did it require lots of revisions?
For now, I’m going to skip this chapter and work on the others until it comes naturally, or until it becomes necessary or enough people let me know that forcing it works.
I have a nine-year-old daughter that helps me quite a bit throughout the day and today while I was putting on my mascara, I was thinking how lucky I was to have her. This was reinforced as the eighteen month old, stole my Chapstick and smeared cherry red across her face and the shower door. Without my oldest, my daily to-do list wouldn’t shrink. There are so many things she does, she plays with her siblings, will help them when they can’t reach items, and helps clean their messes, which allows me to focus on dinner, homework help, household chores and other items.
As usual, I transitioned this to my novel and I wondered how my MC would discuss possible suspects, solutions or move the story along without any secondary characters? It’s an easy answer, my story would languish, it would lack tension, and overall it would stink. Sometimes I focus so much on the main character that I forget to give attention to the other characters and I don’t pick up on it until I revise the chapter. I wondered if I was the only one.
Need feedback, but don’t have a critique group or beta readers. Or are you interested in a professional opinion? There is a fairly cheap way to get it, enter contests. Most of them are judged by agents and editors or published authors and some will critique your entry. If you take first, second, or third place, you can include that in your author biography paragraph of your query letter.
I’ve stumbled across a few and I thought I’d share them.
Crested Butte Writers’ Contest: Deadline is February 12, 2012. Categories are Romance, Mainstream adult fiction, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, children’s/YA. For a complete list of rules or to enter, go to http://www.crestedbuttewriters.org/ to enter.
Unknown Writer’s Contest (Colorado residents only): Deadline is March 31, 2012. Categories are Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction. To enter- http://dwpconline.org/writing-contests/
Writer’s Digest Contest: Early Bird deadline is May 1, 2012. Categories are Inspirational Writing, Memoirs/Personal Essay, Magazine Feature Article, Genre Short story (mystery, romance, etc) Mainstream/Literary Short Story, Rhyming Poetry, Non-rhyming poetry, stage play, television/movie script, children’s/YA. Rules/Entry- http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/writers-digest-annual-competition
Each contest has their own rules and rewards. Make sure and read them. If you decide to enter, good luck.
I am only one-fifth of the way through revising my manuscript and I have 80,604 words.
Boring, boring and boring. That’s what I imagine people saying when they talk about my main character. Heck it’s what I currently think, although I’m in the throes of changing him from predictable to unpredictable. But what does that mean? According to Donald Maass, one of the reasons we love characters in books or movies is because they say or do things we wish we could.
When I first read that, I thought of that scene in the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, when Evelyn Couch (Kathi Bates) rams the shiny little red Volkswagon bug that stole her parking spot. If you recall, the girls tell the timid Evelyn “Face it lady, we’re younger and faster”. Then they link arms and giggle as they walk into the store. Instead of finding another spot, Evelyn, rams the bug several times with her big Cadillac and when the girls come running back screaming and cussing, she says, “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.” And then she drives off.
I L-O-V-E it.
Why? Because I’d never do it, most people wouldn’t. It’s unexpected and it’s even more unexpected because Evelyn is timid and accepting of the horrible treatment she receives from her husband. What the viewer anticipates is that Evelyn will find another spot or worse flip the girls off. But it is unanticipated extreme behavior that makes you want to stand up and cheer for Evelyn.
I’m hoping that when I’m done with the rewrites that my protagonist surprises the reader, that he does things and says things, that while inappropriate, makes you want to stand up and cheer for him.
How do you want your readers to view your main character?