Monday, August 31, 2009

Overediting or... something more?

I have a question for you writers out there... one that I would like to know the answer to. How do you know when your MS is ready to be sent out?

Seriously. I spent the weekend editing. Rewriting. And just doing everything to the first three chapters. I was done. Or so I was convinced. I live in my own little world because apparently nothing I am writing is making sense. Or so it feels. At this point, I'm seriously concerned that I am overwriting. Or overediting as it may be the case at the moment.

I was done. I was sure of it. And then I decided to take another look and chapter 2 suddenly didn't really make sense anymore. You have some 'splaining to do, Lucy! So what'd I do? I decided that I needed a prologue. Yes... another faux pas to some. Is it needed, I don't know. I thought maybe it did but now, I'm just not so sure. So what do I do? It needs to be reread. I can't see the forest through the trees anymore.

Objectivity? I don't have it. I don't even know what it's like anymore. All that I know, is that my words read wrong. It's me. Or I'd like to think it's just that nagging little voice in my head, whispering of mistakes and what ifs. I want to think it's not instinct telling me that it's not ready. I'll find out soon enough, however. But for now, I'm just sitting here, wondering now what?

I move on. I go through the rest. I write the next. But it doesn't make things less difficult.

So what do you do? Do you distract yourself? How do you know when you're done and are not on the verge of overediting?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Prologues: yay or nay?

I've heard different things over the years. Some agents/editors like them, some don't. I'm talking about prologues. Now, I know where I stand. I'm in the for prologue bandwagon. I like them when they are done right. But they have to be short and snappy and be relevant.

A rule of thumb is that usually you can put the information you have there elsewhere throughout the book.

Now, I had a prologue once. For years. And then I had readers tell me that I didn't need mine or that it threw them. They thought the story started at Chpt 1 and I do agree. However, and here is where I don't know what to do: in chpt 2, I have a scene that I've been editing and there's a problem. The information as is doesn't really make sense. I mean it does to a point and it's explained in more detail later on.

But right now, I feel as though the reader won't understand what is going on. So I thought that if I put in a prologue it might help with that. I'm not entirely sure yet. I figure that I'll write it. Get it done and then get a reader or two to go over and see if it works. At this point, I'm still debating. I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. I have an idea in mind of what the prologue would be, but I'm not exactly sure how to get those thoughts out on paper.

You know?

What I need, is a machine. Some machine or tube that will suck that scene right out of my head into the computer and onto paper. Just like that. Instant words. But until such a machine is created, I shall tap away at the keyboard until I get it right.

So what about you? Do you like prologues? Hate them? If a book has one, do you read it or skip right to chapter one?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

13 Strange Recent Stories

1. Is this the Loch Ness monster caught on Google Map? (looks like an octopus or squid to me)
2. Austrian town to hold Mozart urination festival
3. Stolen Lego giraffe tail
4. Flintstone marriage
5. Cocaine sewn inside turkeys
6. Man shoots at dragonfly...misses...shoots friend
7. Proposal written out with hay
8. ATM speaks in Cockney rhyming
9. Lip balm that apparently burns off fat
10. Town puts up Christmas lights... four months early
11. 90 year old man becomes ballet dancer
12. Man glued to toilet seat
13. Man dressed as monkey arrested

Monday, August 24, 2009


I read a quote lately that I thought really got to the heart of matters. That quote?:

Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet.” Anonymous

It all comes down to discipline and not listening to little voices that work to tear your writing confidence apart or those that whisper about chores needing to be done or how your favourite show is on and it's the episode where...*insert plotline*. There will always be something there that needs to be done or you might prefer to do. I know I definitely don't always want to write. This weekend was proof of that. I had my moments of 'oh I suck' and 'I need another rewrite'.

Because yeah, that'd really help.

I listened to that little voice. I gave it substance and in the end, did I write? No. I was not writerly. What'd I do instead? I watched movies and surfed the net. The net as anyone knows, is a bad mind-suck. There's articles to be read. Forums to go through. People to talk to. I even downloaded a couple of games to play while I grumped about.

I did, however, figure out a bit of a plot for Fatal Temptations. While at my parents I'd written two scenes... that the computer apparently didn't save. I lost my words. I'm not sure how much of it got lost but I grumped over that fact. And then figured out where I was going to go and how scenes were going to line up. But I didn't write it. Not yet. Why? Procrastination tho art my enemy. It's an action scene that I'm at. Hero has to get attacked and heroine has to step in... and ultimately get hurt, revealing to him who she really is (Or I suppose 'what she really is' would be more appropriate).

What else did I grump over? The fact that there are no original ideas. Everywhere I looked this weekend I was seeing the main themes over and over again. I know it will be different because they are my characters and plot lines are different, but still. I got huffy and wanted to rewrite. Which is my enemy. I am the Queen of Rewrites.

Do you listen to those little voices? Do you let them lead you off the Writer Path? What do you do when you are procrastinating?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Rollercoaster ride...

If you're a writer, you know what I mean. Even if you aren't a writer, you probably understand. I'm not talking about the actual ride, but the lows and highs of a writer's confidence. It's a normal thing... and if you happen to be someone who doesn't have to worry about this I'm envious... but at the same time, I'm not sure I'd want that confidence all the time.

Because during the lows, that's when a writer learns. And learning as in everything, is something that is important. I know that when I'm sitting there and am not to confident about my ability, it's in these periods that I scope out the writing threads... and the agent/editor blogs. It's not a good feeling, to feel as though your writing is falling apart but it's something that every writer must and does go through. As hard as it is.

But it forces you to learn, to push through it all with determination.

There are no original ideas anymore but it still sucks and it can be quite disappointing when you see similar ideas all around that you thought you'd made up or whatever. But it's whether you push through it, whether you ignore that little voice in your head that says to change things and rewrite, that matters.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Win a 3 chapter crit!

Unsure about your first 3 chapters?

Over at Once Upon a Crime, GH finalist Cynthia Justlin is offering a critique of the first 3 chpts. She'll read any genre but erotica. To be entered into the contest, simply blog about the contest (spread the word!)and comment in the thread with a link to your post.

Winner will be announced Aug 24th. There's only a few days left to enter. This is something you don't want to miss out on. It's an awesome opportunity you don't want to miss!


Who influences your writing the most? Or maybe it's a what?

Recently I was asked this question. I can't say for certain that I've been influence per say by other authors. If I could, I'd want to have stories as memorable as Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series (seriously it's a great Egyptology series about a family and... I LOVED it. Those books are more worn than any other from use), characters as in depth as those by Nora Roberts (I swear her characters are real people. They are THAT 3D) or Nalini Singh (such a wide depth of characters and she can write an awesome series) and a written world of... heck any of the above.

I've always been influenced I suppose by authors one way or another but for the majority, I grab info from everywhere-- my anthroplogy and biology courses, the supernatural (psychic abilities in particular)... CSI (not the show but the real forensics).

I love sciences and humanities. And if I could write historicals I might have written one back in the ancient times of Rome or Greece or Crete...or Egypt. The way of the future is opening up new possibilities every day, especially when it comes to military devices. Even video games can give me ideas to use (as an aside: this is how I got my ideas for FV early on... through Final Fantasy and Medal of Honor). I can't say however that my environment does per say. My stories don't really take place right in town... but in isolation and that's the way I like it because then I don't need to get bogged down in the details of landmarks and readers recognizing locations.

It's hard to pinpoint any one inflence because there are so many. No matter what, I doubt I'll ever really be writing for one fad or another simply because everything is usually so convoluted anyway and it will have elements that don't fit in one particular category.

What about you? What influences you the most? Do you write for what is selling now or do you go off and do your own thing?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen... facts I didn't know

1 There went our best chance: In the ninth century, a team of Chinese alchemists trying to synthesize an "elixir of immortality" from saltpeter, sulfur, realgar, and dried honey instead invented gunpowder.

2 German scientist Hennig Brand stored 50 buckets of urine in his cellar for months in 1675, hoping that it would turn into gold. Instead, an obscure mix of alchemy and chemistry yielded a waxy, glowing goo that spontaneously burst into flame—the element now known as phosphorus.

3. "Zero” was first seen in cuneiform tablets written around 300 B.C. by Babylonians who used it as a placeholder (to distinguish 36 from 306 or 360, for example). The concept of zero in its mathematical sense was developed in India in the fifth century.

4. It is said that Abdülhamid II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s, had censors expunge references to H2O from chemistry books because he was sure it stood for “Hamid the Second is nothing.”

5. During the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, we’re actually farthest from the sun, receiving 7 percent less sunlight than the Southern Hemisphere does during its summer.

6. By the age of 14, the average American child has seen 11,000 murders on TV

7. Daylight Saving Time began as a joke by Benjamin Franklin, who proposed waking people earlier on bright summer mornings so they might work more during the day and thus save candles. It was introduced in the U.K. in 1917 and then spread around the world.

8. In the time of the dinosaurs, the day was just 23 hours long. This is because one second used to be defined as 1/86,400 the length of a day. However, Earth’s rotation isn’t perfectly reliable. Tidal friction from the sun and moon slows our planet and increases the length of a day by 3 milli­seconds per century.

9. Jupiter can have a triple eclipse, in which three moons cast shadows on the planet simultaneously.

10. The Chinese word for solar eclipse is shih, meaning “to eat.” In ancient China people traditionally beat drums and banged on pots to scare off the “heavenly dog” believed to be devouring the sun.

11. In the United States, when people first noticed oil, they didn’t quite grasp the energy angle. Instead they did what any industrious American would do: They bottled it, slapped a label on, and sold it as a health tonic. Several hundred thousand bottles of the stuff are said to have been purchased and, perhaps, consumed.

12. The Aztec word for gold is teocuitlatl, which means “excrement of the gods.”

13. Australian researchers have discovered microorganisms that “eat” trace amounts of gold within rocks and then deposit them into larger nuggets. Mining companies are looking to use the critters instead of cyanide to pull gold from ore, which would be much less environmentally destructive.

These and more were found: Discover

Monday, August 17, 2009

First contest...

This sickly, churning I'm feeling? Oh yeah, it most definitely is nausea. Why might you ask? I've taken a leap and have submitted my first 250 words of Fatal Visions into the Secret Agent contest. It's my first, real contest that I've entered, putting my stuff out there for the world to see.

It, I'll admit, is kind of a scary thing. I've been judged before, have had others read my work, but this time... I'm nervous. Not as nervous as the Pitch that I mentioned a few posts down, but still... the restless energy is there. Or perhaps it's the fact that I'm back to work today after having been on vacation and I just don't want to work...seriously how do you get back into work mode?

It doesn't mean anything. I may not even be one of the 50 contestants. I may have emailed right at 9am this morning, but there is no guarantee. I'll update with news as it becomes available but for the moment, even though I know that the contest doesn't really end for another 22 hours or so, I'm still doing the nervous click to refresh email that so many others have mentioned in the past.

Yep... I've been bit by the frayed nerves bug.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Do you remember your first? No not first love. Not even first lust at sight. I'm talking about your first romance book. Do you remember what it was like to first pick up a romance book? What about writing that first romantic scene?

My first romance was a Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag. The moment I'd read it, I knew what I wanted to write...and what I'd love. Before that moment, I'd been reading thrillers... Dean Koontz, Stephen King, etc. I did enjoy them but what I wanted was something more. In some of Dean Koontz's books there were little snippets, brief mentions of intimacy between chars. I wanted more but because my parents were strict about reading content and keeping me away from any thing regarding 'romantic interludes', I couldn't say that I wanted to read something more along those lines. So I waited... and then one day at Chapters, my mom came up to me and asked if I thought that Cry Wolf was interesting.

Not marked per say as a romance, it had to do with a serial killer. Curious, I got it and that was it. There was no turning back. The following years I kept up the facade that I was just reading suspense. I chose books with covers that didn't resemble anything romantic. Nothing with bare chested men or women half throwing themselves at him. Nothing that would give away what I was reading. And if they asked what it was about... it was about an archaeologist caught in a murder scheme or... whatever.

I had my lines ready.

I started writing romance soon after. I remember researching, and coming across a piece of advice that rubbed me wrong. I don't know who it was that said it, but it was essentially that if you haven't had sex yet, you cannot write it. Or shouldn't. Bad advice to a stubborn teen.

The first few sex scenes were... awkward. Paranoia was definitely up there on the list of what I was feeling. Paranoid that my parents would come across what I'd written, unsure of how others would think. But I loved the romance, the build up and every high and low in between until the end when it all turns out to be worth the struggle.

I suppose I kept what I was writing a secret for a good five years at least. It wasn't until after that I gave up and just didn't care. Ask me today and I won't hesitate in my answer. I write romance. Sex. Intimacy. It may not be the plot device that exactly drives the story, but it will always be there somewhere in the tangle of other struggles.

What about you? What were your firsts like?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: 13 books I'm reading...

I'm at home at my parents for the week. I love it here-- the open fields, the surrounding bush, the lake... the fact that it takes 20-30 mins to walk to neighbours. Pictures will come once I'm back again and am not on dial up, but seriously, I love it here. But just because I'm home, doesn't mean that I wouldn't have books on me. Some are mere research books and it will be oh so clear what topic. LOL. Others are for pleasure reading...

1. Sylvia Browne- Past Lives, Future Healing (Ok I admit I didn't actually bring this with me. My aunt had it and it has to do with cell memory and because it's something my novel has to do with, I decided to borrow it).
2.The ESP Enigma by Diane Hennacy Powell
3. The Science of Heroes: The real life possibilities behind the hit show by Yvonne Carts-Powell
4. The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios
5. PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena by Marie Jones
6. More than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement by Ramez Naam
7. Burning Alive by Shannon Butcher
8. Small Favor by Jim Butcher
9. Night Secrets by Cherry Adair
10. Bound by Honor by Colette Gale
11. A Drop of Red by Chris Marie Green
12. With Open Arms by Nora Roberts
13. A Perfect Darkness by Jaime Rush.

Single space or double? The quirky confessions of a writer...

I realized two things today.

A. I'm a single spacer.
B. I go bonkers if it's anything but.

I'm crazy. I'll admit that. I was editing today my chapters. Everything I write... or edit is usually in single space. I like it like that. It reads fine. But then the moment it goes into double... or exactly 25 lines, it's like it's a whole different manuscript in front of me.

I don't know what it is.

Really. I don't. But suddenly it is not the same, tight, ok reading manuscript but something that just reads stupid and doesn't deserve to be seen. I get twitchy. Honestly it's that bad. I've closed documents before because they weren't in single space and just read wrong.

So I made a comment on twitter. I asked if there were others out there who felt like this? Because honestly, it's a weird feeling. It'll be perfect one way and the moment it's in a different format... bam!... it's that thing in the closet that you don't want anyone to ever see. I wasn't too surprised. 3 preferred double. 1 preferred 1.5 (which I will admit isn't too bad. And this was my trick when my school essays were too long...). And then my 1 for single spaced.

Conclusion: writers are a weird, quirky bunch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pitch

The Pitch.

Yes, the point of most importance of the week... the moment I was nervous about all week, sick to my stomach until I woke that morning hyperventilating and so nauseous I could barely sit still. The Pitch that I'd studied and rewritten at least a hundred times... and memorized and rewrote again. Oh yes, that Pitch.

As a first timer, I didn't know what to expect. Would he be nice? Would he ask me questions I didn't know the answers to? What if I messed up and stumbled over my tongue? The last two were my foremost worries because it's what I do. I'm a tongue stumbler. I'm bad about it. I'll admit that I have a nervous way about me. If I'm going to be late I get nervous. If I'm meeting someone new I'm nervous. But I KNEW my story. KNEW the characters. The plot? I knew it but it's so complex, too much crammed in that I knew I'd end up stumbling messing up.

Which I did. I'll admit that. I sucked. I did bad. It wasn't a sparkling moment. So I got up early, showered, didn't eat anything at all with fear that I'd lose it (I'd heard stories before...). Kai walked down with me. Helped calm my nerves. Down in there, once I'd signed in we saw Chi and Lori. Lori was doing hers at the same as me so when our time was called, we lined up... and waited. It was one big room. One room with rows of tables and behind sat the agents/editors.

I had an idea who to go to. I'd researched and found a picture. But that doesn't mean anything when it all comes down to the wire and you're waiting your turn, just watching them at the tables. Nerves does not begin to explain the nausea I felt. I could have easily turned around and left. I told myself that. That I still had time to back down.

I didn't.

And when it came time, I went. I walked and shook. Oh yeah I was shaking badly. And then I was at the table. Sitting was more of a stumbling sitting, my hand shaking so bad as I shook his. The paper I'd brought with of my pitch was on the table in front of me. And I was prepared to read it. And then... the first words from my mouth, "Fatal Visions is a 90k word paranormal romance taking place in the rugged mountains." I stopped. "Have you ever watched The Pretender or Dark Angel?" Wait. He nods, "Well it's like that but with a bit of Mutant X thrown in for good measure."

That could have gone two ways. He could have not seen any of the shows. Luckily he'd seen them and he was interested in hearing more. My spiel went on reading a bit... then going off course and talking as I went. So yeah, I KNOW I messed it up. I KNOW I went off course.

In the end, he asked a few questions. I talked more. And that was it. I got up and left feeling incredibly glad that I took the chance I had to do it. I'm not a gusty person and that was... awesome. He was nice. Incredibly nice to put up with my nervous banter. Even weeks later that was a high point to the trip. Not just meeting everyone, but the pitch and feeling as though I've done something to put myself out there.

Will I do it next year? If I go to Nashville next year you can bet I will. And I will be better prepared. I will know more about what I'm doing.