Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm just an addict...

If someone had told me that Fatal Visions would have turned out as it had, I probably would not have believed it. Especially not if they'd included the different plot lines and characters. Why? Because my story has changed so much over the years. When I first began, the story was a smidgen of an idea based on the Final Fantasy game and Medal of Honor.

That was it.

That first draft, I would never even recognize today. I was thinking about it earlier today at Williams with a friend and I can't believe just how much I've done on it. It's not that simple idea anymore. It's so weird how writers can take a seed of an idea... and then go with it and come out with an entire story or even more... a series. Everytime I start something new, it's just a smidgen of an idea. Nothing more.

But then I write as it unfolds. I don't plot. I can't. So ideas come to me as I write... and those ideas branch out into more ideas. And from there, entire chaos can occur. It's fun in one of those-- I don't know where I'm going but it's an adventure-- kind of way.

And when you finish that story? It's a high. So maybe all writers are just story addicts, out for their next hit as they search for ideas. :p

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kill Your Darlings...

… these were the words spoken by Eve Silver at a TRW workshop I’d intended earlier this month. Meaning? Sometimes, even those most precious, hard-worked gorgeous sentences need to be killed. This doesn’t just extend to wordplay but to characters and particularly, to scenes. Sometimes, they just don’t fit in the story or do anything to move the plot along.

I’m learning this more and more as I write and it never gets easier. Some scenes will be so awesome and shiny but they’ll do nothing. It’s a pain and often… a fight between wills- the stubborn ego and the practical plotter. Now, I’m not a plotter in the sense that I know where I’m going from point A to B to C. Heck no. My writing is utter chaos. If anyone were to read the rough drafts, they’d be lost because I write random scenes as they come to me and then string them up later to make some kind of a sense- a jigsaw puzzle. So for me, I’ll have a lot of scenes I’ll love or LOVE, but won’t be able to place. So out they go.

Characters… I’m not good with this. I’m not much of a kill off a character I like person and this also reflects what I watch or will read. I refuse, REFUSE, to watch/read something where the main character dies. For me, it’s a waste of my time. I don’t need a character to be doomed from the start. I want to see him/her struggle and get to their feet, to come out better for all that they’d gone through. So death to a main char is a sure way for me to put the book down.

And I’ll confess, because of this, I do often read the last page of a book. Or at least skim it to make sure that everyone is alive and in happily ever after. There’s too much ugliness in reality. I read to get away from it all. But I digress.

I’ve been editing my manuscript for a bit now. It had just gone through a critique so this past week I’ve been cleaning it up. I’ve realized two things: 1. Some of those nice pretty sentences? Aren’t needed because they are either redundant or confusing to the reader. 2. I have more clutch words than I expected and not just that… but actions as well. For instance, clutch words: just, simply. Action clutches?- certain lip movements, glaring or narrowing of the eyes.

So kill your darlings, because as hard as it is, your story will be better for it. Yes, those are words I took back with me from Eve Silver’s awesome workshop and it’s something that I’ll keep with me. Maybe I’ll even print it out in front of me while I write.

Speaking of Eve, I just finished her book Seduced by a Stranger and I highly recommend it. At first, I was a bit wary of the hero. He’s different. Darker. Harder. Colder. Just different from any other hero I’ve ever really read before. I wasn’t sure what to expect because his story is so… intense for a lack of a better word, and thought that it could have easily ended up to be one of those stories that I just didn’t feel the heat between the hero and heroine. I was wrong. It didn’t take long for him to grow on me. He has a past, a dark one that I found quite ensnaring and couldn’t wait to read more about. So yes, if you’re wanting to read a historical and are wanting something different this is definitely an edge of the seat read.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where would you rather be...

Last night I watched Inkheart that a friend loaned me. It's an interesting concept to me, people going in or coming out of books and it made my imagination go... what book would you love to suddenly find yourself in?

For me, I think that I would love to go into Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series. Why? Hot Ramses... archaeology... and in the famous words of Abdullah- Every year, another dead body! I mean come on, the banter of Mrs Emerson and the other characters is often quite hilarious and the mysteries... and pyramids...and...oh there are just so many reasons to love the series.

In the paranormal realm, it'd be to slilp into Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series. Who doesn't love hot men and abilities beyond the normal?

What about you? Is there any world you'd particularly want to jump into? Which character would you like to meet the most?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Wandering Imagination

Sometimes, writing makes me research things I never expected to ever be curious about. Other times, research just doesnt' seem to be enough. Sometimes, there's just no other way than to live it for yourself, to experience it first-hand. Granted, a lot of what I write I could never truly experience just because I tend to write paranormal/urban fantasy.

For instance, I will never in my lifetime meet an ancient Greek warrior who was locked away in an amulet. Nor will I ever find myself in a Bed and Breakfast that just so happens to be a source for literal time travel. Some things, a person just can't experience unless it's in their imagination.

But there are things I never expected to -have- to explain. Like take for instance my Greek warrior, Talon, who suddenly is going to find himself in the modern day in the middle of a gunfight. There is so much that he's not going to know and it'll have to be explained. So what do I do today? I Google guns and how to work them and just what would be the perfect gun for my heroine to sport. This is something I could experience, if I wanted to, I suppose. If I went on a firing range... just how to properly fire and the tools and trades.

I love history, always have, so writing the book with this ancient Greek is fascinating. Yes, it's modern day, but he is still going to have a personality that is so different than what a person use to this time would have. His world as he knew it is going to come through in not only his attitudes about things but his words and gestures and just how he interacts with the world. I can't wait because I know he's going to be so fun to write. I'm only partially into the manuscript but I'm already loving him and the heroine.

And it's just one of the reasons I love writing. It can take me on such curious/wicked paths I would never have expected.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010-- means new year, new goals... new game plan

It's year 2010!

Kind of scary when I think about it. I've gone so far since 2000 that I can barely imagine just where I'll be in ten more years. So I'm part of a goals accountability group created by Bria Quinlan and one of the things we needed to do was create our 2010 goals.

Easy right?

Not quite because not only do they have to be realistic, they have to be measurable. So saying that I'll get... let's say 8 books done, so not realistic. LOL. Oh it'd be awesome but so not going to happen either with work. Not just with work either, there's other things to consider like editing.

This year, I've decided to work on something new. Mostly because it's a time-sensitive idea. It will be a trilogy, shorter than most with deep ancient Greek roots in a modern day setting. This doesn't mean I plan on setting aside anything however. Not really. I'm just shuffling workloads a bit.

Where Fatal Visions is pretty much where I want it to be, there is still Fatal Temptations that need to be edited. I know I'm dreaming big, but we'll see what happens.

But I have new goals this year as well... goals that don't revolve around writing. Things such as learning French again and creating a list of archaeological digs/museums that I can maybe volunteer at next year. That's something I've always wanted to do so I'm putting it down now, to start planning. Goals are a fluid thing... they shift and change constantly so it'll be interesting to see just what I get done by the end of the year.

Either way, it's bound to be interesting!