Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Calling it done...

I've been editing a lot lately, so much so that it seems like it is the only thing I -have- been doing. I know this is probably just me, but I can't write or edit in double-space. Can't. I look at it and it just reads bad, as though each and every word was hit with a stupid stick. Yes, I have my issues. LOL. Or maybe writing quirks, either way, I've been editing so much that I just open the WIP, look at it and have to close it again.

I can't look at it.

And here is the thing: I know there are issues. I'm sure of it. There's holes a-plenty. And if I can see them, I know my readers will as well. I'm reminded of an writer's comic where the writer fell through this hole in the ground and a friend is standing over this hole and just shaking her head, thinking 'well, I told him he needed to fix it' or some such. That person in the hole... that's me. I've become lost along the way with editing.

Now, I know what I want. I can see it in my head. Can almost even picture the book in my hands. And just as an aside: wouldn't it be much easier if you could simply stare at the screen and the story just wrote itself? It'd just be there. But that's not writing. A famous quote mentions that it is the blood and sweat of a writer and I do believe that because it takes work. When I first started writing, I thought that you wrote and that was it. You were done. But no. That's not taking into account the rewriting and edits. Similar, but not.

I don't know what version I'm on now. The 100th would be a pretty good guestimate in my opinion because when this novel started out, it sparked from two playstation games... and simply revolved around the miltary and a virus that gave soldiers this telepathy. Then I got into my Anthropology phase in highschool and suddenly Neandertals made their way into it (I do still laugh at this one I'll admit). Now, it's barely recognizable from those first attempts. I still go back at times to look at previous versions just to see how much my writing has changed. And it's a lot...

But I've gone off on a tangent. I was talking about editing. I've often wondered how writers know they are done. I mean I suppose in one way they are never done. But there has to be a point where they step back and say 'nope, not doing more. must move on'. I'm bordering that line right now. I just can't do much more. I feel the mental disconnect now that is telling me to move on to the next manuscript.

Do you use a checklist and you must check off each one before you consider it done? Something like the revision checklist Nathan Bransford mentions here? Is it when you can go through it and you don't feel a compulsion to change something? Do you have a specific strategy? What makes you call your book finished enough to move on?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Let's talk about motivations...

I was late this morning.

Not in the oh-crap-the thingy-turned-pink kind of late but the oh-crap-missed-my-two-alarms-and-missed-my-bus kind of way. I attribute it mostly to not falling asleep until around 5. Just couldn’t sleep. Brain kept going…and going. So the 6am wake up alarm goes by… then the 7:25. By the time I woke it was 7:39. I have a bus to catch, I’m usually out the door by 7:41. Got out, bus didn’t come. Of course. It just couldn’t be my usual late bus driver. Oh no. It had to be a newer faster one, giving me no choice but to try and beat my second bus so off I went on a 15 min walk/run.

Do you know where this is going?

Yes, missed that one. Doesn’t surprise me. So I waited for the next bus. Good thing that one got me to my third bus in time or else I’d be getting to work half hour later. So I was a bit frazzled. My hair was big. My leg cramping cause the weather isn’t helping the arthritis in it. And my whole schedule went off course.

But that was not what I wanted to talk about. End rant. I know that when things go off schedule for me, it throws my whole day off and I feel as though I’m behind and that’s a feeling I hate. I know what it feels like to have deadlines, I mean, I do have 2 or 3 synopsi to do within two weeks. I’m starting to feel the pressure a bit and that’s not including writing the synopsis for Fatal Visions and all the other work I have to do before I leave for Nationals. But this somehow feels worse because no matter what, it feels like the whole day was wasted and I’m constantly behind.

Makes no real sense, but that feeling is there, an ever present elephant in the room just breathing down the back of my neck. You’d think it’d be a bigger drive but no. Instead it just puts me in panic mode which is not the best way for me to get stuff done under pressure.

I’m going to admit something and I’m sure most of you won’t be shocked: I’ve been neglecting my writing lately. Yes, I admit it. I’ve become focused, driven by my day job that lately I’ve completely pushed writing new material aside. Bad. This was never the plan and it will not last. I know that I will bounce back. Once the synopsi are all ironed out and I’m not feeling the press of time on all sides of me, my writing will pick up. After all, I have a new project to start! Editing FV is 90% complete for the most part. But I’m sure that if an agent or whoever ever picks it up, there will be more things to change. I’m not blind thinking it’s perfect and as sparkling as it ever could be. Oh no. I’m only blind right now because I’m so into it, because I’ve gone over it and am at the stage where I just can’t… do… anything more with it at this point.

Funny how that happens. You get so excited for a project… and eventually you could care less, where you just can’t look at another word of it. So I’m moving on. Once these last edits are in, I’m sending it out and going to start becoming focused on Fatal Temptations, the second in the series. This is the stage, I find, where random phantom ideas and thoughts will come to me. I’ve already picked up on a few the last few weeks. Which is no way going to happen right at this point but into the idea file they go to wait. I’ll get to them because the idea is so sparkly and different for me to write, but at the moment, they’ll wait their turn like good little ideas… right?

So give me tips people. What drives you when you just don’t have the drive to write? What keeps you focused and on track? I know that personally chat whips help (and for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, at Romance Divas in the chatroom, there’s often challenges going on to write 20 mins on, then 5 mins off and whatnot). But sometimes even that isn’t enough. So what else do you do? What else pushes you to get those words on paper?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My favourite part of paranormals...

The other day, I read a blog article from Lisa Childs about her favourite part of paranormals and I think that she's on to something. For me, I'll take great characterization over the overall plot any day. Give me a character to fall in love with, one that will make me cry when he/she is hurting or smile when a joke is cracked. Give me a character that is 3d and comes alive in my mind. The great thing about paranormals is that anything can happen. Shifters, magic, psychics, etc, it doesn't matter as long as your mind is able to create it. Anything goes.

I'm not saying that the plot isn't important. It is. But for me, the plot is there to drive the characters to change and force them to overcome challenges. It shouldn't take over because a great plot is a great plot but if the characters are cardboard, they aren't going to stand out and become memorable.

Give me a character with internalization- I want to be in their thoughts, to feel what they are feeling. I want to get lost in the story through them. There will be those who will disagree, who think that the plot is most important and for you, that's great. There are certainly a lot of authors out there who write like this. To me, the characters are the main focus point because it is them that I'm going to be following from page one and hoping for a happily ever after (HEA) or at least a happy for now (HFN).

Lisa brought up an important point as well. Paranormal characters are often all shades of gray and sometimes, even border on villain. They are often edgier, with doubts and flaws, fighting to do what is right...and sometimes, even doing what is wrong. This is what makes things interesting. A clear-cut admirable hero is all good and well, but sometimes, I want a variety. I love dark, tortured heroes, those fighting not only for the heroine and to keep her safe, but with himself.

What about you? What part of paranormals do you like? Or maybe don't you like?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Conference time is coming up. Despite all that's going on with the RWA, I can't help but be excited to go to DC and meet the others. It'll be the second time I've gone to the US so it'll be a great experience, not just because I'll be pitching to the Harlequin Mira line. But, there's only... approx 2 weeks left and I have a lot to get done by that point. So this week, I've decided to list the 13 things left I have to do before I go off to the conference.

1. 3 synopsi for work. I don't know if I'll get them done, but I need to. Especially when I have one author meeting lined up right after I return.
2. Synopsize Fatal Visions.
3. Make the first 3 chapts sparkle, because you never know what may happen and I want to be prepared for any scenario.
4. Write and practice my pitch. I'm going to be a bundle of nerves. *sigh*
5. Buy a dress and skirts and shoes... and... yeah... this is going to need a whole new wardrobe LOL. Unfortunately I haven't found anything yet that works or looks ok.
6. Get my hair done. I want to cut my hair shoulder length and highlight/lowlight it. Right now, my hair is almost midback... and I figure it'll be way too hot come July to have that much hair.
7. Pack. I have to figure out how to pack everything I'll need, but still have enough room to bring back books and stuff cause um yeah...
8. Make sure hedgie has everything she needs to have a sleepover.
9. Set up my dvr to tape my shows...such as Merlin.
10. Bake some treats for the trip! I'm thinking some muffins for morning... and cookies and whatnot.
11. Need to buy something that cannot be specified to bring down.
12. Remember to bring business cards.
13. Exchange contact info, just in case, cause I know I'll get lost at some point that week. LOL

Anything I'm missing? Any tips on going to conference, being in DC... etc?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Writers' Spaces

I've been wondering lately if I need to set up a work area just to write. As is, at the moment, I come home from work, having worked at a computer all day, then drop onto the couch and with my laptop on my lap, work on it like that. Nothing wrong with it, it's comfy, but I want to use the wall to put pictures on... and pieces of info to use... and just the bare bones of plots. I suppose this is like a plot board. Unfortunately I rent so I would have to be careful with the wall. I've always wanted like a window in the middle of the room... like a divider to write plotting ideas on.

Do you have any specific way you have set up your writers' space? Check out these writers and their writing spaces.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Call for a Change

I'm not a political person. I don't like it. If you've been following RWA, you'd know about the latest happenings on the ESPAN blog regarding D. Pershing’s post about epubbed authors and the lack of representation of electronic publishers at Nationals this year. Not only did this make its way to the Examiner, earlier today, Angela James issued a Call To Action.

You may have also heard about the RWA Change group- a group that is fighting for change within the system to not only educate its members about digital publishing, but to broaden the standards to include epubbed authors and publishers because ebooks are becoming more of the future. Just because you're epubbed doesn't mean you are not career oriented. An advance of 1k or more is not indicative of whether you're considered 'published', in my opinion. If you wrote a book and sold it, the contract in your hand, whether you've gone the print or epubbed route, it is all the same. You're published. And you're an author. Yes, granted, there have been bad epubs out there. But that is like anything and I know there have probably been just as bad print publishers as well out there in the past. To label all e-publishers as bad because there's a few out there makes no sense. What is important is educating people to be able to avoid these bad ones, not push them all under the bed like something unimportant because you just don't want to deal with it.

You can join the group yourself right here and help the change because there needs to be an equality. I will admit, I am not a published author. I joined RWA for its resources such as my local Chapter and networking oppotunities. I am serious about my writing and having a future career in it. I don't want to say I didn't speak up. Print or e-pubbed, a book is a book. A writer still puts the same effort into it no matter what. Just because a person is e-published doesn't mean they are any less of an author.

What is your stand?

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Being a writer is not an easy road. I haven't been a serious writer all my life. In fact, I hadn't really earned that title until a year ago when I decided it was time to stop playing around and finish the novel I'd begun in highschool. Oh that book got done. But two, three versions later of rewriting the same main concept over and over again, and I decided I needed to take a stand. I couldn't keep rewriting what was already done ad nauseum, not if I wanted to get somewhere.

That road was a rocky one. After finalizing the first draft, things weren't as smooth as I wanted them to be. Despite having done different versions in the past, there were still plot holes and scenes that needed work. I remember thinking it was done, of being satisfied. Setting it aside for a month, and then going through it again, once more before sending it off to my amazing crit partner. Then I got things back. Oh there were things I expected, problems revealed that even I could see. Her suggestions were good and I realized I still wasn't done. So off I went to work on the second draft. And a third. And... well you get the point.

Fact is, even once it's finalized and as clean and clear as it possibly can be, there will still be things that will crop up and this includes writing queries and synospi, pitching at Nationals to editors and agents... and everythign else afterward. And once that's done, I'll do it all over again with the next book which is another story altogether because this one is being worked from the ground up for the first time in ages.

This blog will not just be about the publishing industry, but my path as a writer. And please, leave a comment, I always love hearing about the opinions and thoughts of others.