Monthly Archives: January 2015

In the Mood

Well, I was in the mood.

I was all settled in to edit a short story (of sorts – it’s actually an excerpt from one the Academy of the Accord novels) but four interruptions later I found I was having a hard time focusing on it.

Why is that?

Why is it that even just one little thing can jar you out of the groove, block the flow, destroy the energy that was rolling you toward a goal?

Is it just that your train of thought has been derailed, the track you were on broken and you can’t remember the words that were right there on the tips of your fingers waiting to tie everything together?

Or is it the fear of being jarred out of it again that keeps you from settling back into your groove?

I want to write. I want to finish editing that piece and then I want to get back to the newly started Book Three of the nameless trilogy that I’m working on.

I want to, so I guess I can’t really say that the mood is gone, but…

Well…

The mood is gone and what I really want to do right now is sleep.

Maybe that’s it.  Maybe the irritation at the interruption(s) drains your energy.

I don’t know.

I just know that all the joy and excitement from a while ago has been shattered and I’m…

… out of the mood.

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Wednesday Words #5 1-28-2015

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:
Write a flash fiction that uses all of the following:
a candle
milk
a prayer
a tree

 

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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“What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

I waste spend far too much time on Face Book, but I find such interesting stuff there.  Like Curiouser Editing LLC, which is where the theme for this post came from.

So, the question was asked, both in the group Curiouser Author Network and on their blog:

“What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

and from reading the responses it seems that a lot of people hate editing.

I’m weird. I don’t really mind editing — it makes my little organizational soul sing and dance.  Oh, sure, I whine and complain and moan about it, mostly because I’d rather be writing something new, but I really sort of enjoy it.

Everyone has a different approach to the process: here is a little bit of mine.

I load the novel onto a thumb drive, go to Office Max, get it printed and three hole punched, put it in a binder, and put a paperclip on each chapter.  (I have pretty colored paperclips.)

Then I take out one chapter and sit down with it, some pretty colored markers, some pretty colored highlighters, and some pretty colored Post It notes in various sizes. (Are you catching a theme about pretty colors? LOL)

Oh, and I keep a spiral notebook at hand to use to write major notes to myself. (I have a ton of partially used spiral notebooks and this is a great way to decrease the number of them.)

Remember all those pretty colors?  (How could you forget them, right?)  They come into play now.

Grammar corrections and typos are marked in red ink. If a page happens to be free of them (ha!) I put a red 0 in the top right hand corner so I know that I can skip that page when I make the corrections to the Word doc.

Then other colors get assigned to other uses:

  • Check to see if I said/did… (blue ink)
  • Scene re-writes – I’ll put a number in say, green, on the print out, then write that same number in the same shade of green on the notebook and hand write at least a rough scene to insert when I get back to the computer.
  • Sometimes I’ll draw lines in different colors to rearrange paragraphs.  Or I’ll label the paragraphs A,B, C and put them in a new order when I get back to the computer.  Colors help make it easier to see what I’m doing.  Plus, I can have a green A and a purple A and know which is which.  (My rough drafts get really messy.)

Post It Notes get used in conjunction with highlighters.  I’ll highlight something and put a sticky note next to it that says “Retcon this” or “Retcon to book 1” or “Go back and make this clearer before now.”

I also make changes to the Word doc a chapter or two at a time instead of waiting until the entire thing is done, as that can be overwhelming.

Then I read through it on the screen, make more notes about continuity, and smooth out some transitions that got roughed up in the first go-round.

And then I load the new version onto a thumb drive and…

So what is your editing method? Any tips or tricks to share?

(Oh, and for the record, my reply was that for me the hardest part is promotion:

“Marketing. Definitely marketing. I absolutely suck at self-promotion. (I was never good in selling advertising, either.) I don’t like “bothering” people by shoving ads for my books in their faces all the time, probably (at least in part) because it annoys me when I see it.”)

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Snippet January 25, 2015

This is an excerpt from my current project.  This is a very rough first draft and may or may not have been creatively edited to fit the 10 sentence limit.

This continues from last week.  Traeasyun is speaking.

 

“Nevertheless, there is no use in him being here for this.”  She crossed the room and opened a door: a man in the uniform of the castle guard turned at the sound, his eyes searching the newcomers for some sort of threat as she ushered Ta’elsin out of the room.  “Take him someplace to wait until we have finished, and see to it that his needs are met.”

“Of course,” he said, bowing even as the door snapped shut. Straightening, he turned to Ta’elsin and extended his hand. “My name is Arrek, and I am at your service.”  

“Ta’elsin.”    

“I am pleased to meet you.”

Ta’elsin accepted the proffered hand and took a moment to study the warrior: Arrek’s grip was strong and sure, but it was his eyes that held Ta’elsin: they were dark brown, soft and warm and somehow soothing, and for a moment he wondered…

He shook the thought away and forced himself to focus on reality: he knew that the chance of finding the boy who had rescued him was nearly non existent, and yet he couldn’t help but wonder… and wish.  

He drew a deep breath.  “So, now what?”

 

(The prologue is available on Wattpad if you’d like some background information.)

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Did I Say 25K?

Remember on Monday when I said that my current novel (the unnamed second book of an unnamed trilogy) was going to finish up at around 25k?

I was wrong.

I finished it on Tuesday at a little over 21k.

Okay, so I didn’t really finish it.

Well, I sort of finished it.

I wrote the final scene.  And I like it.

But…

It was too easy.  It happened too fast.  I need to go back and add in some drama and excitement and a few near misses.

And I might extend the timeline to a few years instead of a few months, except I’m not sure that would be realistic.

So, I’m going to be re-working the events leading up to the final scene to make it more… meaningful, I guess is the word I want.

I’ve also realized that I was doing more telling than showing, but my main P.O.V. character (Ta’elsin) really isn’t involved at the events at that point.

Which is silly.  I have no problem with writing from Arrek’s P.O. V., especially since Ta’elsin is coming across as really whiny and insecure in this book – something else to fix in the edit/re-write phase.

I’m also toying with the idea of writing a few scenes from the P.O.V. of the still nameless prince, but that leads to the question of how many P.O.V.s is too many?

 

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Wednesday Words #4 1-21-2015

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:
Who? an old woman with a baby carriage
What? a cookie
Where? a city street

When, why,and how are up to you, so have fun!

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with.

Also, if you have a moment, please help make the prompts better by telling me what kind of prompts you like:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Z5K6C7X

Thanks!

 

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Cushions and Padding

You know that 3000 word cushion I built up? I’m glad I have it, even if I may not ever need it.

I usually do my 1K after midnight, before I go to bed.  But Friday night I was really tired so I went to bed before midnight (nearly unheard of!) planning to write before work on Saturday.

Saturday morning, however, I woke up feeling crappier than the words I’d been churning out, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get anything written.  I told myself that it was all right if I didn’t – after all, that’s why I worked to get ahead on word count – so I’d have a cushion in case of a bad day.

(I do the same thing during NaNoWriMo – you never know when life is going to happen.)

(Actually, I do the same thing at work – try to get as much done as I can as early as I can because one little thing can throw my shift out of whack and knock me back an hour or more.  Nursing and writing apparently have more in common than I thought.)

But anyhow, back to Saturday.

Despite feeling like I’d crawled out of the back of a dumpster after an all night bender, I started writing, and managed to get a little over a thousand words added to the novel.  And some of them weren’t even garbage!

So, I didn’t need it, but it was nice to know that my nice comfy cushion was there.

Cushions are nice.

Padding I’m not so sure about.

Right now this novel is coming in way short.  I’m thinking it might hit 25K if I’m lucky.

So now the challenge is to figure out why, and how to fix it.

Part of why is that for some reason I seem to be racing through this, like I’m eager to get to the end.  I’m not sure why that is, except that I have the end scene in mind.  (Maybe I should write it so I can slow down and get to it.)

And part of it is that my outline is sort of disjointed and all over the place instead of nice and organized and orderly.

So, how do I fix it?

Well, there’s always word padding.  But adding words for the sake of adding words never turns out well.

However, I am (as always) severely short on description, so going back and setting some scenes here and there will probably add a thousand or two.  (I think I need to do some writing exercises where all I do is describe settings – that really is one of my biggest downfalls and the thing that I tend to not do.)

And there are places where I’ve left myself notes to go back and insert scenes that will make the current one make sense.  That is directly attributable to the poor outline – I simply forgot to put some things in there.  I’m hoping that they’ll add another 5k or so.

That still is going to make this way too short to be called a novel.

Maybe.

I’m actually kind of eager to start on the edit of this, just to see how it turns out.

 

 

 

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Sunday Snippet January 18, 2015

More from the very rough first draft of my current project.  The following excerpt may or may not have been creatively edited to fit the 10 sentence limit, or to at least come close to it.

Skipping ahead from last week — Ta’elsin and Berrebren are in the castle and have been ushered into a room where two men and a woman are waiting for them.  The men are the king (who still needs a name *sigh*), and his brother, Mishelzon.  The woman is the Royal Wizard, Traeasyun.  Introductions complete, Traeasyun speaks first:

 

“Thank you for coming, Berrebren, your expertise will be much appreciated.”  The woman’s voice was smooth, but reminded Ta’elsin of snake slithering across a rock.

“I am honored to have been asked to attend,” Berrebren replied, bowing, “and I hope that I may be of some assistance.”

Her gaze fell on Ta’elsin, dismissing Berrebren from her notice.

“An apprentice, Berrebren?  That’s not like you.”

“A repayment of a debt, Traeasyun.  Sagyl had taken him in but died without finishing his training and I owed him a favor.”

“Has his training been completed?”  Her eyes, one pale blue and the other such a pale green as to appear translucent were fastened speculatively on Ta’elsin.

“Near enough,” Berrebren responded off-handedly.  “He has been taught the arts, but he lacks experience.”

 

(The prologue is available on Wattpad if you’d like some background information.)

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s All Crap

Yes, I’ve hit that point.  You know the one:  there you are, plugging away at your masterpiece, and suddenly you realize that everything you’re writing is garbage, nothing but pointless drivel. It doesn’t add to the plot or develop the characters or set the scene or do anything else even remotely useful.

We’ve all been there, right?

So what is a writer to do?

Keep writing, of course.  Write the bad stuff.  Let the garbage sit there on the page. Write more of it.

Why?  I mean, you know that it’s all going to get cut in the edit, so why keep adding to it?

Because eventually you will write yourself out of that spot and the plot will advance and the characters will develop and the setting…  Er, let’s not go there. I suck at scenes and settings.

(Plus, you need to get it out of your system.)

But the point is, keep writing, even the garbage.  Especially the garbage.  Because  when you go back in a few months to edit, you may find that it’s not as bad or as pointless as you are thinking that it is, or you may find a few treasures among the trash.

And if there aren’t, well, then, it’s really cathartic to put a big red X through it when you edit.

And remember: “The first draft of anything is shit.”

Who am I to argue with Hemingway?

 

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Wednesday Words #3 1-14-2015

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

time: late night in winter
place: a deserted road
event: a one vehicle accident

 

Have fun!  And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with.

 

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