Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo pitfalls...


I wonder if I hit all of them :-D

Reality 101 lists these:

1. Lack of advanced scheduling
2. Internal Editors
3. Writer’s Block

Yes, yes and yes :-)

Cyde Wey says this:
- flat characters
- inconsistency
- sloppy writing
- no flow
basically - internal editor. >:->

I haven't even thought of the deepness of my characters, inconsistency, flow or other points of style. I have been thinking about my bad English and how I cannot variate the dialogue by giving each character their own voice. I don't have a clue on how they would speak differently.

The Writing Spectacle mentions:
pitfall #1 - reading what you have written
pitfall #2 - my novel sucks!

I haven't read what I have written, but I am convinced my novel sucks. I haven't reached 10000 words, because of that.

Farrah Tochon mentions two - first - the obsession with the word count, and two - the main mistake - joining NaNoWriMo in the first place :-D

Yeah... I'm obsessed with the word count as well. Mine, others', last year's, any.

Cynthia Closkey mentions the intention to publish the draft as a sure way of not writing a word.
She also mentions DrawMo! ("draw more" or "draw month"), which leads me to "every day matters" and NaArMaMo (National Art Making Month). There's also NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month) and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and what not. Interesting.

From the NaBloPoMo comes a few quotes about writing:

"At least half of all writing involves just sitting and staring into space. Letting your brain out to hunt down ideas, bringing them back all warm and bloody between its teeth."
- Warren Ellis

"The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it."
- Jules Renard

"Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed."
- Ray Bradbury

"Loafing is the most productive part of a writer's life."
- James Norman Hall

"One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment."
- Hart Crane

"Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing."
- Melinda Haynes

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why is writing a lot of crap a good thing?

Disorganized Author forwarded the question asked by her friend.

I haven't won NaNoWriMo any time I have participated, and I think my dislike of what I am writing right now got the better of me, and I won't win this year either. Well... I have been badly organized and prepared, I don't have a whole story, just a scene, and I don't even like what I am writing... But, I still think NaNoWriMo is a good thing, and writing a lot of crap among the good stuff is also good.

This is because I have noticed that I need to get into the profession of writing.
I need to teach myself to write every day, what ever happens. If I manage to teach myself to write - what ever it is I write - I will be writing, and that is the only way any writer can produce a manuscript.

To Disorganized Author's friend and her likes, I would like to say that it is quite possible to write 4 hours and then edit it for 4 hours, and produce 8000 words, of which one edits out like 6000 words, and still produce a 60K manuscript to the end of November. It is possible to produce 2000 reasonably good words a day for a month, even if one allows the inner editor to work during that time.
It is also possible to print out some 20 pages of the manuscript at a time and edit the "mess" in reasonable pieces, so that the whole 50K will not drown you.
I imagine it would be easier to edit a whole story. I imagine it is easier to cut off the unnecessary parts, because I know where the story is going, because I have already written it once. It is easier to see if the flow is there, if I have the whole book to read. I have never managed to write a novel, so I have never edited a novel either, so I don't know. I just imagine it to be so.

I have also noticed that my inner "editor" or saboteur, who she really is, is quiet, if my goal is to produce 2000 words a day, but not, if my goal is to produce a book someone might want to read. If I am writing a book, I will never succeed, because the writer's block hits me with all the "uh, this is no good, no-one will ever want to read this, this is pure crap, blah, bah and humbug!"

I am seeing the NaNoWriMo as practice in writing, not in writing well. :-)

As I said, I doubt I will be winning NaNoWriMo this year either. I haven't written a word in six days - or I have, but it's about 400 words. Not the 12.000 I planned to write... It is 11th of the 11th, Memorial Day, and my word count should be about 18.000-19.000 words. It is a little less than 9000. *sigh*

I haven't written short stories, articles, blog entries, or anything else either this weekend. To my defense I can say that I was at my sister's, because my brother and his family were visiting Stockholm this weekend, they came on Friday and left on Monday, and today is the cleaning day, but in reality, I have no excuses for not writing. None, what so ever. I even dragged my laptop with me this weekend, planning on taking a couple of hours off and writing.

I could also say, that my medicine is "playing tricks" with me, and I am constantly sleepy. I sleep 12 hours a night, but wake up tired and drowsy. 7 hours later I'm ready to go to bed. Even when this is true, I don't feel I can use that as an excuse not to write, because I write really quickly (if I write) and this is my life. I should be able to write in spite of the obstacles life puts in front of me, if I really am a writer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some thoughts about the length of stories

I just learned a new concept: hint fiction. Very fascinating. I could probably publish a new hint fiction story a day...
"...if a drabble is 100 words, and a dribble is 50 words, then how about we say Hint Fiction cannot be anything more than 25 words."
Flash fiction, mentioned in the article, is 1000 words or less.

Short Story
~ 1,000 - 7,500 words

The ’regular’ short story, usually found in periodicals or anthology collections. Most ’genre’ zines will feature works at this length.

Novellette
~ 7,500 - 20,000 words

Often a novellette-length work is difficult to sell to a publisher. It is considered too long for most publishers to insert comfortably into a magazine, yet too short for a novel. Generally, authors will piece together three or four novellette-length works into a compilation novel.

Novella
~ 20,000 - 50,000 words

Although most print publishers will balk at printing a novel this short, this is almost perfect for the electronic publishing market length. The online audience doesn’t always have the time or the patience to sit through a 100,000 word novel. Alternatively, this is an acceptable length for a short work of non-fiction.

Novel
~ 50,000 -110,000

Most print publishers prefer a minimum word count of around 70,000 words for a first novel, and some even hesitate for any work shorter than 80,000. Yet any piece of fiction climbing over the 110,000 word mark also tends to give editors some pause. They need to be sure they can produce a product that won’t over-extend their budget, but still be enticing enough to readers to be saleable. Imagine paying good money for a book less than a quarter-inch thick?

Epics and Sequels

~ Over 110,000 words

If your story extends too far over the 110,000 mark, perhaps consider where you could either condense the story to only include relevant details, or lengthen it to span out into a sequel, or perhaps even a trilogy.

Copyright 2002 Lee Masterson
Then someone mentioned "noveleenie" or "noveleeny" - which could be a "tiny novel", but it might also be another word for "novellette". I don't know. But:

Wired's "Very Short Stories"

Wired magazine took 33 writers from the fields of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and asked them to write 6-word short stories.
"Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?"
- Eileen Gunn

"Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so."
- Joss Whedon

"The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly."
- Orson Scott Card

"Kirby had never eaten toes before."
- Kevin Smith

I once won a Columbus Dispatch "noveleenie" contest (write a short story under 400 words.), but this sounds like more fun.

- Dara

Fifht day and I haven't written anything

I asked the question "which genre is my book in?" and while I was answering the question, I started thinking... bad choice. :->
Someone said about the last chapter's synopsis "so boring I feel like crying", or something like that.
She's (or he, I don't know) is right.

I wouldn't want to read my book.

I wouldn't want my family to read it. I wouldn't be able to promote my book. I wouldn't recommend to anyone. It IS boring. Says nothing, doesn't show the world from a different point of view... one wouldn't probably even like the people in the book, not to mention want to know what happens to them.

No-one would ever say:
"After reading The Gargoyle, my first thought was that nothing could possibly top it. After 44 years (I started early) of reading anything I could get my hands on, including Moby-Dick, reading Andrew Davidson’s debut novel made me feel as if I were done. The Gargoyle had it all – all I’d ever wanted or needed from a book."
On the contrary, they might probably say something like:

It is hard for me to believe that the other reviewers on this site actually read this book. I am halfway through it and have resorted to skimming -- it is one of the most boring books I have ever read . . . and I read a lot. I would not recommend it, even if you are an aspiring writer, a lover of recent history, and enjoy books about the friendships of women. It is all of these things, without anything to draw you in.

I don't want to write this book any more. I don't understand what in it I thought would be something anyone would like to read, ever. Or, what made me think *I* would like to read this book. The name would never stop me, the cover would not interest me, synopsis wouldn't make me want to read it... If not me, whom then?
I'm sure there are people in the world who would love this story, told by me, but I am not one of them, so I will not tell this story.


I'll give you the synopsis, so if you are interested, you can tell the story:

A mysterious and strict woman has a brothel in London. It's the middle of the winter, and the housekeeper finds a Chinese woman, on her way to give birth, in snow, half naked and delirious. She keeps talking, in Chinese, which the housekeeper doesn't understand, but she cannot leave the woman out, so she runs home and asks the handyman to help her carry the woman to her room. In early morning hours the baby is born, but the mother dies. The newborn girl's first scream brings the Madame to the housekeeper's room, and she takes on the baby. She adopts her, and names her Mei Li - or May Leigh, so that people cannot understand of her name that she is Chinese. The Madame learns Chinese just to be able to teach Chinese to the little girl, she sings her Chinese songs and tells her Chinese stories. The girl grows up well aware of her Chinese inheritance.
The society doesn't approve the little China-girl, because she isn't "proper English girl". She gets some unexpected allies, though. There is an old books store in the neighborhood, and the shopkeeper is charmed by the little bookworm, and spoils her rotten. The neighbor boy, 4 years older than the girl, saves her some times from being bullied, attacked, abused and discriminated. When the girl grows older, she fells in love with the boy, and they initiate a love affair. The boy's parents don't approve a Chinese girl, and when the girl asks help from her adoptive mother, she reacts very strongly against the boy, as his parents are racists. She says some things that hurt Mei badly, and she cannot forget nor forgive Madame. The young two decide to run away, and start a new life somewhere else. Madame cannot forget or forgive either, and gives the House to the housekeeper, packs her things and leave the House never to return.

There it is, take it and run with it, and if you write anything, let me read it :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fourth day, and I'm still on!

I have broken my record! YAY!

I also read about people who have already written more than 10.000 words. One girl had written over 25.000 words. Already. In three days. *blah!* One woman is writing three novels at the same time and keeps up with the word count in all three!

On the other hand... I write quickly, and if I just had gone into the habit of writing, I could do that too. I write about 60-65 words per minute, which means that if I just wrote, and not think, and not go and do research in the middle of writing, and not edit, I would be able to write all 50.000 words in about 13 hours. He. That is, if I started 8 A.M. kept half an hour "coffee breaks" after every 4 hours of work, I would be finished 10.30 P.M.
I could well divide that for two days, which means that I would be working 6-7 hours every day, have a lunch break in the middle, and be free from 3.30 P.M. - and have written the book in two days.
Interesting, isn't it? I could well write my two books every month, with plenty of time left for research and editing...

I do write only for a couple of hours every day. I try to keep up with the 2000 words a day count, and finish with 60.000 words draft in the end of November.

It really doesn't take long to write... I am just not used to write. There's a tiny editor inside my head... or "editor" I should say, because real-life editors are amazing, and mine isn't. She's just a pedantic besser-wisser and perfectionist who tells me everything I write is crap.
I know I write some crap, but mostly what I write is good.




I have been thinking what to call my genre.

It's not romance, it's not chick lit, but it's similar, so I could call it "women's fiction" - even though I don't write my book with women in mind. I hope people of any gender would read and appreciate my writing, but my main characters are all women, or defined by women in their lives, and it's very much centered around home and relationships, so I assume the majority of my readers will be women.
It's steampunk inspired, but because I don't explain any gadgets, machines and such, it's not sci-fi, or strictly speaking steampunk either. I'm speaking of what happens behind the scenes in a steampunk world. What a normal, common contemporary fiction novel would be, if the normal, common world was a steampunk world. As the history of my world turned out differently than this world we are living in right now, it cannot be classified as historical fiction either. I think it would be classified as fantasy, but it's not medieval fantasy, and there are no dragons and fairies and vampires and werewolves around, and no-one has superpowers or paranormal abilities, so I think classifying it as fantasy would be saying it's something it's not.

And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day.

I decided to move my NaNo-diary from the story and in here, so that I can just "mark the whole document" and "copy and paste" it to word count verifier - or just count the words with Word word count calculator. That's close enough in this stage of NaNoWriMo lol

1.11. 0.06
National Novel Writing Month has begun and I have begun to write. I feel a bit off, because I just found this amazing blog I wanted to search, and I am already 5 minutes late :-D

1.11. 0.37
Here again - after the good start with 1000 words in half an hour, I don't know what to write. I suppose I might not be a writer after all :-D

2.11. 12.42
I just heard about someone who will write 2000 words a day through whole November... if it takes me one hour to write 1700 words, I should be writing two hours and produce 3000 words.

3.11. 12.53
Oh dear. I write a page and start thinking. I don’t have this story! I don’t know what will happen next! I suppose I should have been writing something I have already researched and thought about, and something I know the story. Sure, I know the outline of this story too, the child happens to enter these people’s lives accidentally, changes everything, and leaves just as accidentally... and changes everything again. It’s about how children do change the lives of the families, but they are not OURS, just visitors who stay longer than a week, and never outstay their welcome... on the contrary. I will be putting in happenings, incidents and substories I have snapped from other stories.

3.11. 14.17
Oh DEAR how I don't want to write!
I also notice that I am spinning something else than I planned on writing. I have slipped back to a fantasy of mine, where my native country has a quite different position in the world history... I am very fond of that fantasy of mine :-)
But - every word is a good word. I have written over 1000 words today. Now I only need to write another 1000 words and I can think of other things :-D

3.11. 14.48
DONE! YIPPII!!!

When I say I don't want to write, I don't mean I don't want to write. I do, I just don't want to write my NaNoWriMo :-D

I might want to write a short story for L.Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest.
On the other hand, I just read about the dangers of writing contests, and... well... I suppose L.Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future is legitimate.

If you are living in UK or Ireland, you could try writing a 1000 words short story for Cally Taylor's contest with the theme "Heaven". You could write a 1000 words short story with the theme "Heaven" anyway, even if you are not eligible for the contest. The contest has very nice prizes, but if your short story is good, you will reach there without the help of the contest. Cally did ;-)


I have been reading Louise Doughty's interesting columns "A Novel in a Year".

"The day after my eighth birthday, my father told me..."

It's totally empty in my mind. I try to think back at my 8th birthday...

My father didn't say me much anything the day after my eighth birthday - or after any of my birthdays. I don't remember much of anything anyone told me when I was 8.

My 8th birthday was in 1977. Or perhaps 1976... if one counts my first birthday as the day I was born. I started the school 1976. We were still living in the town. I was 7 years old. If I am 8 years old on my 8th birthday, it was my first birthday after we had moved from town to countryside. I knew no-one, I had no friends, no-one came to my birthday. The day earlier one of my class mates had his birthday, and he had a birthday party in his home, with some other class mates. So, perhaps my father could have told me why no-one came to my birthday party. It was simply because they didn't know where I lived. But, that never happened, and I didn't wonder. I couldn't have told anyone how to get to my house. I was 7 and had lived in the house for just a couple of months, and it was in the countryside, and I barely knew our neighbors.

What could someone else's father have told this someone else the day after he was 8? I really cannot imagine. Adults, especially fathers, don't tell things to 8 years olds. Middle-aged people wouldn't remember what was told to them when they were 8.

This exercise makes me sad about my lonely childhood and about being ignored by people who were older, not only my father, but my mother, my siblings, teachers, neighbors, buss drivers, shop keepers - basically anyone who was older. Also, it makes everything I write about being a child and getting attention from adults second hand information. I could just as well be writing about what it is like to be black, or growing up as a slave. I know just as much of that. I have lived a very boring 40 years, and that is awful. Well... sisters Brontë didn't have that exciting and fascinating life either, but they wrote some interesting books.

I want to write a novel because I like reading novels.
(And I want to get Nobel literature prize, get rich and not need to worry ever again about what I'm going to eat and where I'm going to live tomorrow.)
Also, I want to be a published AUTHOR, and to me that means writing novels. Many novels, not just one. It's not enough to have written some words in a friend's book, or have written children's picture books, or have written fact literature, or have written short stories and articles in magazines. That makes me a published WRITER. To me being an author is something wonderful, admirable, idealistic... it's my biggest dream, my fantasy, my ambition... I want to BE an author, not just call myself one.



I just read Chris' first pep-talk. I loved this one: "...endure a few shameful days where the only thing keeping your word-count afloat is the fact that your protagonist has a habit of reading the dictionary aloud whenever she gets nervous. And she's always nervous. " LOL
But this is the most important message: "There's an adage in noveling that you can revise a bad first draft into a great book. But you can't revise a blank page into anything but a blank page. Take this to heart during NaNoWriMo. In November, all words are good words."

So what if I snatch inspiration from someone else? That's what Dan Brown did, and look at where that got him! It's not so that the inspiration is lost from the original source. He/She has already written his/her book.
Also, it is as Alexandra Sokoloff says, I will be saying the things with MY words.
As Chris says in his peptalk "The world needs your new novel, author. It's time to go get it written."
As said in Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium:
Molly Mahoney: You remember when I was a little girl and I could play Rahmaninov's Second Piano Concerto and everyone was talking about my potential?
Mr. Edward Magorium: Mhm.
Molly Mahoney: Well, I am 23 now and everyone's still talking about my potential but if you ask em to play the song I know best... I'll still play Rachmaninov's Second.
Mr. Edward Magorium: May I suggest you stun the world with Molly Mahoney's First?
*sigh* It is scary. But I don't need to be afraid. The worst thing that can happen is not that I write crap, but that I write nothing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I went to the doctor's...

and we did discuss my future. *sigh* She hinted at the possibility of me having Asperger's syndrome. Ok... what does it mean? How is it going to influence my future? I don't recognize myself of the descriptions at all. I feel awkward and clumsy, but don't everyone? I know I'm not. I have no problems in communicating and I'm highly empathic person. I never spoke like a little professor, and even though I knew a lot of certain things, these things were many. I knew all about horses, birds, Lord of the Rings, sheep, stars, mythology, well... anything I happened to get interested in. Yes, I'm shy, a grey mouse, but people don't see me as cold. I don't know. Perhaps there are different shades, and I'm not like others. Just like everyone else :-D (Who ARE these others, anyway, because no-one is like them?)
I'm having an emotional hangover and I'm feeling really, really, REALLY bad.

So, I'm just going to share a couple of things. You remember the Elizabeth Rose writing thingy I posted about some 2 months ago?
Here's something to be added: learning to be a good Muse "owner".
Here's another little something I read about yesterday: training your brains.

This is very important for us NaNoWriters: Stop multitasking. There really isn't a need for that, and most often it's just a question of doing a lot of jobs badly, not doing anything well, and in the end procrastinating, and needing to do the darned list again tomorrow. Do one job at a time, do it well, finish it, forget about it. Next item on the list.

If you STILL don't know what to write for NaNoWriMo, here's some help: NaNoWriMo tools you need for your writing journey by Angela Booth.

Here's Chuck Palachiuk's 13 tips to a writer

It seems that Men with Pens are having a week long fiction writing course :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I don't want to go to the doctor...

We are going to discuss my future. Blah.

I'd much rather sit at home and write my nano :-)

Here's something that might interest you:

The Literary Lab is organizing a short story writing contest. Write anything, every genre is welcome. It's less than 2000 words, one day's work, or two, if you edit the thing you wrote :-D - I think it might be an interesting thing to do in the middle of the NaNoWriMo :-D

Here's 5 things to do to GET READY for NaNoWriMo... a bit late, but better late than never ;-)
Here's Lynn Viehl's NaNo-list. As said, not too late :-) If you plan to write 2000 words a day too, you will end up with 56000 words, so it's 6000 words over the goal, if you start tomorrow :-)

Then I have been reading a little of Alicia Rasley's Writer's Corner, because I've been a good girl and written over 3000 words the first day :-D

Nevertheless... I doubt I'll keep up with the good work the rest of the month. I probably won't even be able to produce a nice little short story of only 2000 words for the contest. I probably won't write another fictional word this year. Knowing me... I'd rather surf the net and collect information about writing ;-)

(Tehee! Guess what just happened! My computer was slow, I was quick, and I closed the tab holding my blog entry, and it hadn't autosaved, so everything I had written disappeared!)

But if you like, visit me at NaNoWriMo :-)

First day of Nanowrimo - 1700 words

I also did that in an hour, which leaves me plenty of time to do other things. :-)

I was reading Sonja Foust's blog and that lead me to Alexandra Sokoloff's blog

Among books I wish I had written are Da Vinci Code (though a better one), Twilight books, Outlander books, Pride and Prejudice, Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland and Romeo and Juliet (and everything else Shakespeare wrote). And the Bible.
Not because I think they are good books, but because people love these books. Yes, I'm very materialistic on some level. Yes, I wish I could support myself with my writing, even get rich by writing. I am extremely jealous to Dan Brown, who in my mind cannot write, but who can support himself with his writing. :-(

I wish I was as productive an author as Agatha Christie, Shakespeare and Barbara Cartland.
I wish I was an author good enough to get Nobel prize.
I wish I was a popular and beloved author.

Sigh. I went and read Geoffrey K. Pullum's critique on Da Vinci Code, and it was delightful and soothing read. I don't know if my book - if there ever is one - is considered as worthless, but I am not an English teacher in University level. Dan Brown is. I don't understand how he could get the job, when he writes crap like that.
Anyway, languagelog is very good reading for all writer-wannabes. I found among other things this "16 first rules of fiction".

Show, don't tell
Be readable; grasp the reader's attention.
- "something terrible happened', and instantly we want to know what, and where, and how, and why"
Don't explain.
Know your characters.
"The words the characters use need to reflect their heritage, upbringing and life experiences."
Drop the reader right into the middle of the action.
You can do anything.
Write what you know.
You can't talk about fiction.
Be true to the characters and let the story flow from them.
A relieved sigh ALWAYS brings trouble.
Truth is stranger than fiction, so appeal to the sense of absurd to gain credibility.
Never, ever, let your readers be confused about the precise geographical locations of your minor characters.
The narrator can't die.
Create a believable universe out of nothing.
It is not real life, but it must somehow honestly represent something of real life.
The voice may be yours, but the characters are just characters. ("all similarities to existing people are purely co-incidental")
the links aren't working, but I managed to hunt down a couple of them through Internet Archive. :-D
Here's another take to this list. Better than mine, which is not really even a take...

BTW, this is my list of 10 top films and books:

1) Big Fish
2) Hook
3) LA story
4) Amelie from Montmartre
5) Quiet Man
6) Father Goose
7) How to steal a million
8) Aristocats
9) Don Juan de Marco
10) Enchanted April

1) The Eight
2) Lord of the Rings
3) Narnia books by C.S.Lewis
4) Overwhelmed by joy
5) Jonathan Livingstone Seagull
6) Alchemist
7) Foucault's Pendulum
8) Wind in the Willows
9) Fifth Elephant
10) Jonathan Stroud's demon trilogy

I just wonder what's the common denominator here...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nanowrimo starts tomorrow

I get these... what to call them? I am more or less apathetic for months, do nothing, and then I do a LOT, all in one time. I haven't been knitting for months now, I haven't been reading, I haven't been writing. I have been on Polyvore and making sets, I have been playing computer games, I have been surfing. It's November tomorrow, and the international novel writing month begins. And I don't feel like writing...

"...using Word with 10 pt. courrier type, double spaced, with one-inch margins, you will have approximately 25 lines per page with 10 wordsper line. So figure 250 words per page.
An average book is about 200 pages, so that's about 50,000 words. Chapters are usually about 15 or 20 pages. Just divide it up like that."
-- Writing Books

Basically, there are no definite rules on how many words makes a chapter, because it depends very much on the rhythm of writing. I think one can say "something between 1,500 to 5,000 words" - 5,000 word chapters are LONG. Relating to Nanowrimo, one can say a chapter should take 1-2 days, not more, nor less. The medium word count for a day is 1,667 words a day, to reach the 50,000 words a month goal, so 1,667-3,334 words for a chapter is good. Also, if you write a chapter in 1-2 days, you will end up with at least 15 chapters, 30 if you write short chapters - or more than 50,000 words. :-) That is an ok length for a book.

The publishers don't like the bricks of books, with more than 90,000 words, but they also don't like books that are as short as 50,000 words.

Ok, I'm just talking, to keep me from writing before midnight :-D It's quarter past 4 P.M.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Paramourtal...

"Cliffhanger books is looking for previously unpublished short stories for an upcoming collection of paranormal romance tales"

Hmm. I haven't been writing for some time now. It might be a good idea to take a 30 days rush and whip up a short story. I have always been better with short stories than long stories :-D

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interviewing your character II

Emily Hanlon gives 50 questions to ask from your character in her three part series "interviewing your character" in her blog "Fiction Writing - The Passionate Journey"
Interview I, II and III and More Questions, for the questions 27-39

An interview with the dashingly handsome private detective Dewain Cavish.
Part II

Where did you grow up?

In the whorehouse and streets of London.

What did your father do?

Wouldn't know. All I know is that he was a werepanther and I look like him.

What about your mother? What was she like?

Mommy (smiles) My mother was a whore. She's dead now, like most of old whores are. She was a good person... always kind and happy and... she was soft, round, had hazel eyes and honey colored hair. She used to keep hard candy pastilles in her pockets and she gave candy to all kids she met. We loved running her errands... she told fairytales to us in the evenings, before she went to work. I used to listen to them every night, until she died... she could a lot of stories - or invented them herself - she never told the same story twice, unless we kids asked... and even then it wasn't enough to ask, we had to demand and bug her to tell a story twice. Girls loved the princess stories, I loved the adventures.

What was your favorite fairytale?

Puss in boots. (smiles widely) I love cats. I used to share my food with cats waiting for Puss to come and make me rich, but he never came. Later, my mother told me about my father, and she said that sometimes pusses make one rich in a different way... that she got me from her Puss. So I might get something else from my Puss. That every person gets different things from Puss... I think I have got my agility from my Puss... and the knowledge of the town. I followed the cats and pushed myself through small holes and into narrow chimneys... I can go anywhere in the town by the roofs, and one really gets everywhere that way. People very seldom look up, and there's all kinds of things, chimneys, gargoyles, kattoikkunat ja ulokkeet, one can hide behind. Also, most people don't guard the roof entrances to the houses... there's always a window or latch open up there through which one can get in if one wants. Or you can go through the chimney. I might be the reason to why people believe Santa Claus comes in through the chimney (laughs).

How did your parents get along?

Really stupid question... really well when they were together, but that lasted less than an hour. Next question.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Nope

What was the thing that scared you most as a kid?

Angry men. Men who could and would hurt my mother and the other women. They were all like aunts to me, and I loved them all.

Dewain, be the child you once were. What do you see? Feel?

Now, I - the writer - am to write a scene from Dewain's childhood - Dewain is not a writer, he can barely write and read, that was something that wasn't necessary to learn. He can read enough to know whether his friends reading for him are cheating him or not, and he can write his name and short messages, but he couldn't write a scene of his childhood.
I am also to "show, not tell", which is a little tricky thing... you see, it's an effect and slows the story down, even when it creates a very good relations between the reader and the story. It is to be used sparingly, as an effect it is, when needed, and not all the time. There's nothing wrong with telling. The "correct" way of using this line is "show, not JUST tell" :-D

So - Dewain is being hypnotized and moved back to his childhood.

"I'm in the kitchen... Auntie Hetty is baking... I am not tall, I can barely see the tabletop while standing by the table on my toes. Sylvie sees my problems and gives me a stool. It's a nice stool, painted bright blue, like Sylvie's eyes, and I use it a lot. For some reason I didn't think of taking it to reach the table better, but I suppose I'm not old, if I'm so short. Hetty bakes every day for the guests... they are to have something to nibble while they wait. Esther says that a man who has eaten some sweets is a kinder man. I hope Hetty uses a lot of sugar then, because I don't like big, red men, shouting and pushing girls around. Hetty smiles at me while she rolls the cookie dough and gives me a small piece of the dough. It is good. Hetty is very good at baking. The dough is rolled quickly and then cut into squares, she washes them with egg and sprinkles plenty of coarse sugar on top, then the cookies fly on the baking trays and into the oven. She puts a chunk of sugar into my mouth when she puts the ingredients back in the cupboard and then she wipes the table clean. The tea kettle whistles and her hands fly to set the table for tea. It's time for the girls to get up and have breakfast and they start dropping in in pairs and threes. Cindy comes alone, yawning, but she is not very social of herself. Betsy lifts me up into her lap and shares her breakfast roll with me. Hetty takes the cookies out of the oven and gives me one. It's still hot and soft, and I burn my tongue with it, and the girls laugh. Cindy doesn't laugh, she puts some butter on my tongue and gives me cold milk. Hetty pats me on my head and mommy scolds me for being so greedy. I didn't know freshly baked cookies can burn your tongue. My tongue is sore, but the cookie is good. Hetty gives me another one, this time it's not that hot and soft, it's crispy and crunchy. The sugar on top crunches too, but differently. It's good, but mommy tells Hetty not to give me more. Betsy takes another roll, with orange marmalade and cheese, and no-one scolds her for being greedy, because I have eaten most of her first roll. I want down, I'm not getting any more cookies and I'm not hungry anymore."

For now, I'm going to jump over questions 21-26, as they are connected to the childhood memory. I just don't want to dwell over Dewain's unhappy childhood, when it really wasn't. Dewain remembered something happy, warm, kind and nice, even though he burned his tongue. He wasn't running, crying or hurt, but a happy, warm, satisfied little boy. There were days when there was no food, and days when the food wasn't enough, but that came later. Teenaged boys use a lot of energy and eat accordingly. Dewain was mostly hungry from 9 to 19, stole food wherever he could find it. Hetty baked for the whorehouse at that time too, but white sugar and flour was not wasted on the help boy. He got his breakfast roll with a spoon of marmalade and one slice of cheese, with his milk tea, but that was almost all he got, and that is not even close enough. He would have shared his roll with Molly, but he wasn't allowed to take food from the kitchen. Hetty asked him to get Molly to the house to eat, but Molly got beaten half dead by her mother after the one time she did that - Molly's mother was a "God fearing" woman and would rather have killed her daughter than allowed her near a whorehouse. (Which she in a way did, as Molly died of hunger - had she been allowed to accept the "immoral bread", she'd survived. It was never considered that she'd started working in the house. It was to help the already "fallen" women, not to cause anyone to fall.)

Now, who was Molly? She isn't even mentioned in the book, even though she seems to be quite important to Dewain.

Molly was a poor girl, living one step higher from the streets, enough for her mother to believe to be a "better person", but not distinctable from the "real" street kids in the eyes of everyone richer. Her mother was a wife of a sailor, who might have been alive or might have died - no-one knew. Her house was in impeccable order and so clean one could have eaten on the floor, even though there was anything to be eaten very, very seldom. She earned some pennies by washing for the richer families and helping in other heavy household chores, and she got herself a meal while doing that. She often forgot that her children didn't have the same benefits, so she didn't quite understand that Molly was slowly starving. All her kids were forbidden to touch anything dirty or go near the whorehouse or pubs, but Molly was the only one who did was she was told, so she didn't even get the additional nutrition of half-rotten food found in the garbage or a half-eaten apple thrown away by someone more blessed. She wasn't supposed to play with Dewain either, but Molly's mother had made the mistake of telling Dewain and the "girls" this, not to Molly, so Molly didn't know and Dewain was very careful not to let her mother know about his disregard to her wishes. Dewain managed to feed Molly every now and then by begging food by the restaurant back doors before it was thrown away and thus made untouchable to Molly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Interviewing your character

Emily Hanlon gives 50 questions to ask from your character in her three part series "interviewing your character" in her blog "Fiction Writing - The Passionate Journey"
Interview I, II and III

An interview with the dashingly handsome private detective Dewain Cavish.
Part I

How old are you?

I'm 35.

What kind of work do you do?

Usually find lost objects... or people. Sometimes I follow husbands or wives who do things they shouldn't be doing.

Are you married?

No, no... (laughs)

Why do you think that is? A charming fellow like you should have plenty of opportunities.

Just haven't found anyone who would stand up with me. I might be a charming fellow, as you put it, but that's not all there is to marriage. One shouldn't marry to have something pretty to look at. You can look for free.

Do you have any children?

No.

Are you sure of that?

Quite sure.

So you live in celibacy?

You could say so. It sounds a bit... too holy to me, but I don't have... engage into carnal relationships.

May I ask why?

Too much fuzz. Women tend to want too much. I know plenty to know this, I was brought up by women. My mother was a whore and I grew up in a whorehouse, running errands when I was old enough to do that, then I started watching the door, when old Hackett grew too old... and the ladies talked quite freely of all kinds of stuff around me, even when I was too little to understand what they were talking about. I suppose growing up in that environment made sex... distasteful. I didn't want to be one of these guys following their dick.

Are you in a good relationship to your spouse or lover?

As said, I have none. But I have several female friends and I am in a good relationship with them.

Have you ever been unfaithful?

No. I appreciate friendship and loyalty over everything else here in life. I would never betray my friends.

Has your partner ever been unfaithful?

Not that I know of. If a friend fails me, he is no friend of mine, and has apparently never been. It's just to move on and understand that he wasn't the person I thought he was.

What kinds of things make you angry?

Not much, anymore.
I used to get angry at anything when I was young... especially the feeling of powerlessness. When the thugs beat up old Hackett, for example, and I was too small and weak and dumb to help. Getting beaten up. Not being able to stop others from being beaten up. Not being able to beat up the thugs.
Unfairness... when the rich had food and we had none... or good shoes. And they acted as if it was as it was supposed to be that way. Sanctimony. The priest quoting the Bible as justification to why Molly died of hunger 100 yards from a restaurant where the rich were feeding good food to their pugs and poodles... one of them had once stopped Molly from patting her pug, because she said Molly was disgusting... her overfed, ugly pug. I hate pugs.
I despise the ladies asking me to track their spoiled dogs and cats, but they do pay well, and it's not the wretched animals' fault that they are owned by these insensitive, egoistic idiots...
I saw once a poodle, really smart dog that was. Did all kinds of tricks and earned money to his master. He got to eat in that restaurant, because the guests liked seeing the dog dance and do tricks. That was a good dog.
I have never seen a pug earn one penny to any poor sod, on the contrary.

How do you express that anger?

I get active, aggressive... When I was young, I cried a lot. I used to rage and break things. I stoned the windows of that --- restaurant. I tried to steal the pug, I would have drowned it. I'm kind of happy that I didn't succeed, it wasn't the dog's fault. I should have drowned his owner instead.

Did you get any consequences of breaking the windows?

No, they never caught me. One street boy is like another.

You’re in a scene with someone who is making you very angry. Why? What’s making you angry?

They threaten Helen. I'm afraid for Helen. I wouldn't mind if they did anything to me, but they may not hurt Helen, never, in any way, under any circumstances. I cannot do anything, I would give them the darned sapphire, but it's Helen's, and therefore her decision.

What memory does the scene bring up?

Old Hackett... Molly... all the times when people misused their power, strength, status, might... I want to tear up these thugs throats.

What memory does the memory bring up?

---

Describe something really bad you once did.

Weird questions. I hope you ask the opposite site as well.
Something bad I did... I have been quite a good boy all my life. Can't think of anything.

Don't you think breaking the windows was a bad thing?

No. I should have burned the place. Force open their doors so poor people get to eat.

Have you done something else similar to that?

Well... one has done one's part in life... you mean illegal with "bad", huh?

Let's say I do. Describe something illegal you once did.

I hunted down the thugs who beat up old Hackett and killed them. That's illegal but wouldn't be if the society was any more fair. Everyone's better off with those men, even their families. I took care of their children and wives, until the kids were good enough to take care of their mothers themselves. It's not their fault either that their husbands and fathers were who they were, and if I hadn't, the kids would have grown up to be exactly like their fathers. Now they are good people.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Writer's Block? Nah...

I just don't feel like writing. Writing the book, that is. I feel like writing, so I am here :-) Writing :-D

The writer's block is only due to high expectations, perfectionism, doubt on one's ability. The thing is that there is no reason for that. No-one says your book is going to be published. You are not writing to be published, you are writing, because you are a writer, you love writing, you love telling the story. You might not care for editing - even though that is rather fun too - or selling the story - which can be fun too - but you are a writer because you like writing. You are a writer because you write.

Now - to "get over writer's block", all you need to do is - write.

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU WRITE.

Now, of course, if you are on a deadline, you MUST write a certain thing, but it won't be a problem, if you keep up your skill by writing something every single day of your life. The more you write, the more you write. LOL Sounds obvious, but it really is ;-) You see, the more you write, the more accustomed to writing you get, the easier it becomes to write, it becomes natural, easy, flowing, you get used to express yourself by writing - so you write more.

When I was at school the essay writing was my absolute favorite. It was so easy. I sat down and after the hour I had at least 4 pages written full, usually more. I have read what I wrote then, and the style is very nice, the text flows, is coherent, there are very few grammatical mistakes and even fewer mistakes in style.
When I was a member of an internet debate forum with 6000 characters limit in messages, I quickly got the nickname "6000 characters are not enough".
I'm sure this fits to most of the writers. We are all really good at writing, spouting words and letters. The "thing" with writer's block is that we start THINKING, editing, criticizing, questioning, valuating... we stop writing.

I have realized that my writing is very much connected to the mood I'm in and inspiration. I must feel like it to do it. I won't be able to write one, single thing in a month or a week, but I will probably be able to write seven novels, two plays and a collection of poems in a year.

I have found out that I am not bad at writing plays. The form is so different, and I haven't read more than Hamlet and In The Morning The Sun Rises or something like that, about a couple or something, so I haven't been thinking about that. There was a playwriting competition though, and I thought of joining, and wrote a play in two days. It's rather horrible at the moment, needs a LOT of editing, and I won't be joining the competition (the finished plays should be at the jury's tomorrow), but the base is great, I think. I would very much like to see it on stage.

I was also thinking about something Sumner Redstone said, a notice I have also made. Creative people tend to be creative in several different areas. Actors are usually good at singing, models at acting, Madonna's books are not bad... Chances are that if you are good at drawing, you are also good at writing, singing, acting... Might be that you wouldn't manage as a rocket scientist or brain surgeon, but you could well write music and lyrics, sing it and paint the record cover. I wish I had more education in music. I wish I knew how to play more instruments and how to compose music...

Which leads me to a different thing... Neil Gaiman keeps doing a lot of different things all the time. He writes novels, short stories, children's books, graphic novels, plays, poems - everything. It looks like he's directing a movie now... don't know what he means with that, but never mind.

I actually was going to say something, but I went to find his blog URL to add it here and found "Shelfari" and got trapped there, so I forgot what I was saying... sorry. :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

chapters

Lynn Squire; Meet Me In My Everyday World 2

"At the end of Act 1 a character must reach a point of no return; a place where he can’t go back to what things used to be, and he must go forward in order to survive physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, or spiritually."

The first doorway, the first threshold, 1/5 or 1/4

if 20 pages is a chapter and the book is 300 pages long, that is 15 chapters, then 1/5 is 3 chapters and 1/4 is 4 chapters - somewhere in chapter three there is the point of no return...

"That said, what is to happen in those first five or so chapters? The character is in her everyday world and experiences an increasing level of discomfort."

In Francesco Alberoni's Falling in Love it is said something like that a person's falling in love is always preceded by a feeling of that there is something missing but also an expectation of that there is something coming...

Could be!
Who knows?
There's something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose!
Who knows?

It's only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there's a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something's coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something's coming, I don't know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone'll jingle, door'll knock,
Open the latch!
Something's coming, don't know when, but it's soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!
Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!

Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It'll be there!
Come on, something, come on in, don't be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!

Who knows?
It's only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight...
Maybe tonight...
Maybe tonight...


"...when the main character enters the special world--i.e. the world where most of the story occurs, where the character has agreed to the call that she experienced earlier, where there is no point of return--she can't go back to her normal world...

...Increase the tension until there is no other choice, in the character’s mind or in the reader's mind. She must cross over that first threshold into the world of adventure that she must pass through in order to gain what she has lost and return to her everyday world.

The following questions should be answered before crossing that threshold:"

Why should the reader care about Nell and Dew?
Because if they get each other there is still hope in the world that I too get someone. The story takes you away from your boring life and gives you an adventure with the best reward - love.
"a tightly woven adventure story that is very fast paced, and sizzling HOT HOT romance scenes that are very passionate."

Why should the reader read the story?
To find out what happens to Nell and Dew.

Why would she want to do that?
I have to make Nell and Dew so charming the readers fall in love with them... they need to want to be one and want the other

What will she get from it?
Ideas for her own fantasies, inspiration, hope, feeling of love

why should the character risk all to enter into his adventure?
Nell wants her talisman back, Dew wants to prove he is not a gigolo, Jim wants all the pretty, shiny things in the world
second treshold - Nell wants to live, Dew wants Nell, Jim wants all the pretty shiny things
third treshold - Nell wants Dew, Dew wants Nell, Jim wants all the... yeah. Jim doesn't grow.

If I share the book in 4 using Randy Ingermanson's snowflake theory Step 2 I get:

4 chapters - jewel gets stolen
8 chapters - Helen gets kidnapped
12 chapters - nightmare
last 4 chapters - binding it all together

no way that would work! It's too much time after nightmare...

1-2 chapter - the characters, and their normal life, are presented
3 chapter - the jewel gets stolen and Helen and Dew meet properly
4-5 chapter - Dew searches for the jewel and returns to Helen to share his findings
5 chapter - Dew kicks up a little dust and Helen gets kidnapped
7-8 chapter - Helen's life as kidnapped, Dew's journey to her
9-10 chapter - rescue and flight
11 chapter - coming to London
12 chapter - wedding, ends with the villains in their bedroom
13 chapter - wedding night horror, enter Betty
14 chapter - happy end!

280 pages, 70.000 words - that’s too little, but it will have to do for now. 70K is not too bad

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Carrots or no carrots?

Elizabeth Rose says in her How to Write a Novel in 30 Days also that one needs to reward oneself for reaching the day's goal, and also to share the day's goal into smaller steps and to reward one after fulfilling each little step.

If I am to write 3000 words a day, that's about 12 pages, and that's half a chapter - I could reward myself after each page and each chapter as part goals. I could also reward myself after every 1000 words.

I don't know what would be a good reward... I don't like soaking in bathtub, giving myself a pedicure or manicure or "pampering" me in other such ways. I'm not that girly girl... and I don't like the idea of rewarding myself with food. I weigh too much already as it is... so it's hard to find things to reward myself with. It's also hard to find things to reward myself with, because we don't have much money. It should be cheap or free and not food...

I like pens, paper, stationery, notebooks, color pencils, markers, folders, bookmarks - I could get myself a "grab bag" filled with this kind of stuff. There's also a lot of freebies out there.

I like books. I could go to a second hand store and buy myself a book, or to a library and borrow some good, interesting books, and read them as a reward. Or have them read out loud, either by hubby or as an audio book. Or I could take my book out and sit on the grass or by the lake and read.

I like art. I could give myself an hour surfing Deviant Art favorites, some art supplies, an hour of making art... I could go to an art gallery or museum.

I like museums and aquariums too.

I like games. I'd love it if hubby would play a game with me... I could also spend an hour playing computer games, or puzzle

I like walking in the forest. I could take a half an hour walk.

One idea I find somewhat interesting is badges... you know, like scout badges. Like making myself a notebook with pretty ribbons in the back, and the ribbons are the reward... buy 30 cm pretty ribbon to be sown in the back of the book. Or crazy quilt square...

I could also make myself ATCs with pretty boys...

Or make myself block cards with words... learning a language.

Charm bracelet? The silver charms are not that expensive...

I could give myself a plant for each book. Or have a cactus garden or terrarium with plants... Small cacti are quite cheap.

I can also put a "gold coin" in a jar as reward and when the jar is full, buy me something nice with the money.

I could rent a nice, romantic movie as a chapter reward. When I have finished a chapter, I may take the rest of the day off, rent a movie and just enjoy

I could give myself a magazine subscription as a reward for finishing the book.

Also, as I HAVE to eat, I could reward myself by making it special... like having a picknick or using the best china and so on. Perhaps having dessert? Or reward me with a cup of special tea...

Writing and Rewards

On the other hand... For Best Results, Forget the Bonus

Isn't writing supposed to be so lovely that you'd do it without rewards? Isn't writing its own reward? Isn't the book the reward of writing a book?

Monday, July 20, 2009

if you keep going backwards, you’ll never move forward

Don't edit, rewrite, criticise, correct, change, just write

This is a very hard lesson to remember. When I read what I have written, I cannot stop thinking whether I can say it better, using fewer words, whether it sounds good... I always, always, always start changing what I have written, rewriting, editing, correcting, changing... which means I'm not writing anymore. Which means I'm not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am disrupting the flow of writing. I am not thinking about the story anymore, but grammar, style, impressions...
I must remember that there will be time for editing, and it is not now.
I also keep jumping back and forth because I forget some details, like last names, first names, who's who and what color it was. That too stops the flow.
Another thing I do is try to find "right words". English is not my mothertongue, and my vocabulary isn't that good. I tend to think in Finnish and some in Swedish, and some times it's only the French word that comes to mind, or some other obscure language. I should remember that I am supposed to WRITE now, so I'll put in which ever word that comes to mind, or leave a blank, if I can't think of a word, and change that when I'm editing the text. That is, NOT NOW. I am supposed to write the first draft, for heaven's sake, and that is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER perfect. It isn't supposed to be either. I need to have text I can edit.
Also, check the details later. Check the facts later. Don't do the research while you are writing. Just write!

About the research: all the major parts should be clear BEFORE you start writing. You can check the minor details while you are editing, or after the day's work. One may not take time off the allotted writing time to do this kind of things. One may just write.

Don't allow anyone else to critique your writing either. There is a saying in Finland - unfinished work should not be shown but to lords and loonies. (Because neither accepts a no as an answer... and their critique is not worth listening. ;-)) But seriously, I have made that mistake a couple of times, and it kills the inspiration.

Elizabeth suggests that one takes the day's text to bed to be read the last thing one does that day. Sort of a reward. One may have a red pen and mark the parts one thinks should be changed, typos and such, and one may write notes in the margin, but that's it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Synopsis

One of the advices on how to write a novel in 30 days is to start by writing the synopsis... Now... a lot of people hate writing synopsis. I think it is because people don't know what it is.

Here's a example
Here's a couple more - real life synopsis that are good enough for the editor to buy the book

- What is your book about?
- It is about this man and this woman, who meet and fell in love with each other and get each other in the end of the book.
- Well... yes, every romance novel is about that. Give me a little more details.
- The heroine is N.N, and she is a singer. She wears always this specific jewel and a collector sees it and gets it. The hero is M.M. and he's a private detective, whom the heroine employs to get her jewel back. They have some adventures which lead them to fall in love with each other and in the end they marry. Happy End!
Now, my synopsis is a little longer, but I don't want to talk too much of it, because the more I talk about it, the less I write.

Basically, the synopsis is your story. Now, a synopsis is 1-8 pages, and your book is 200-400 pages (or more...), so you understand that by writing down the synopsis you are not writing the book, but you give a very good idea to the editor what your book is about, and you have a handy outline which you can use to help you write the book. You don't need to start writing from the first line of the first page of the first chapter and then write until you get to The End - you can write a dialogue from chapter 8 first, then a scene from chapter 3, then chapter 13, then the end of the story, and so on. If you have your synopsis, it's easier to keep everything in order.

The Snowflake Method of Writing

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Avoid writer’s block before it happens

I think this part of her list is actually very interesting.

She tells you to condition yourself to write your book while you are positioned in your working place.
Now, I write in bed, like many others (Mark Twain, Colette, Edith Wharton, James Joyce...) and I use my laptop to other things as well, so this won't be easy... but I shouldn't be sitting here with the laptop in my lap staring at the empty pages of my to be novel. If I ever get to that point, I should leave the novel and do something else, and think about the different tricks to get over writer's block somewhere else. For example, do the dishes and think about what my characters think about dishes, or food, or household chores, or how their kitchen looks. Or go and see some pretty boys, or read something romantic, or take a walk outside. Walking is a really good thing to get the creative juices flowing.

Then, she tells you to think about your book all the time, the characters, which actor you'd like to play him when the book is being filmed, let them converse in your head what ever you are doing. Shower is a really good place to be having romantic fantasies, the bed while you try to sleep or when you are waking up - the more you think about this, the more you will think - it works like magic... your characters become almost real people, you will see something and think "Raine would be dressed like that in the party..." or "Cate would choose that chocolate eclair..." - the book will come to your dreams and you'll get some interesting bits and pieces to add to your book while you sleep. Stephenie Meyer says she got the idea to Twilight in a dream...

Stephen King, an excerpt from Writers Dreaming by Naomi Epel

Practival Tips for Beating Your Writer's Block

Story Starters - 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Plot
How to Use Collages to Help Write a Novel

--------------------

I have written 1000 words now, without breaks and it is REALLY HARD to continue. I have been a good girl and added the ---s and [research] in stead of interrupting the writing to actually find the word or doing the research at the spot... I am sitting by the internet! It would be so EASY!!!
The story isn't boring and I don't have a writer's block, but I think I need to take a break every hour or so. Walk a little, drink coffee, walk the dog, do the dishes or so, and then come back and continue writing. I think I'll take a nap.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What motivates me?

Fay Sampson by Diana Colledge

Firstly, I want to be a writer, a published author. I wrote a little of a friend's book, Kiss a Demon Goodbye, and the experience of seeing my name on the cover of a real book... I could easily get addicted to that :-) I can't come up with any experience as good as that... perhaps giving birth to a child would be similar, but I have no experience of that, so I can't tell.

Secondly, I want to support myself and writing seems to be the only thing I can do (due to different reasons). At least I want to know if I can sell a book to a publisher. At least I want to know I can write a book.

So, I'm writing to support an addiction, I'm writing to support myself, I'm writing because I love writing, I'm writing because I can, I'm writing because I want to write...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Make a commitment"


Ok... sure... but this is what I'm really bad at. I'm really good at starting things, I'm really good at getting inspired and enthusiastic over everything new - you know, "instant gratification isn't fast enough" as Carrie Fisher said. So, of course, writing a book in a month sounds really good :-D

But I have started NaNoWriMo three or four times now, and finished - 0... I suppose this won't happen either. Especially when I'm online writing my blog in stead of writing my book :-D
(I have written 2400 words of my romance novel now... I started a couple of days ago... I'm keeping the usual pace for me... ;-))

So - commitment... er... I suppose it will end here. BUT - it might not take 30 days in a row. I maybe write something today, and something else a couple of days later, and after I have written something 30 days, I'll have a novel!

It really is just a NaNoWriMo, and IF I do it as I speculated yesterday and if I DO write at least two hours every day, in the end of the month I WILL have succeeded in at least keeping the commitment, if not having written a viable book.

4) Avoid conflicts

Easy. I don't have a work. I don't have children. I don't have many friends either, but those I have will respect my writing. I don't need to talk in the phone with my mother or sisters or anyone else, if I really want to write. Now, as it is, I'm quite happy for the chance to procrastinate. :-D
I also have the best husband who will answer the phone, the door, make me food, keep my teacup filled with warm and strong tea and who will walk the dog, if need be. Of course, if I want to procrastinate, I will do ANYTHING, even clean, do the shopping and walk the dog, so that I don't NEED to sit down and write.
I think this is great, because I need my 9 hours sleep every night. I GET MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION FROM MY DREAMS for crying out loud! Not to mention that I would be a mess, if I don't sleep enough. I couldn't write "after everyone has gone to bed". It's not a question of having energy. It's a question of not acting as if I had PMS.

BTW, Elizabeth Rose... husbands are not some kind of cloned animals - unable to think for themselves, unable to do anything unless "trained" to do so or told to do so, who have "weird expectations" and who cannot think of anything but sex, food, their games or their toys. Your idea of a husband is not funny, it's offensive.

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Now I have been writing about 4 days and I have written about 4000 words... HA!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to write a book in month

according to Elizabeth Rose

1) Define your goal

Defining my goal:
I want to write a paranormal romance novel. It is really not that hard, because romance novels ARE porn for ladies, writing down my sexual fantasies... or more clearly, writing down my ROMANTIC fantasies. Every woman has those, and most of the women have very similar romantic fantasies. Every straight woman wants to be desired by a very desirable man. Every straight woman wants to be beautiful. Every straight woman finds the same sort of men desirable. Might be that you don't think Jude Law or George Clooney are that hot, but they are not ugly or disgusting. You wouldn't mind that much if Brad Pitt wanted to go out with you, would you?

I want to write a paranormal romance novel for a "real" publisher. They want their manuscripts to have about 90.000 words.
That means I need to write 3000 words every day.
My typing speed is about 60 words per minute, making mistakes and correcting them as I type, which means that I need only 50 minutes of active typing time every day to reach my goal.
This is naturally not reached in 50 minutes, as I need to "invent" the story. It's not just writing down the story as it is being told to me, I have to find the words, and my English vocabulary isn't that big.

I was thinking about Barbara Cartland... If I played her for a couple of hours every day and told the story to my dictaphone, I could play my secretary for another couple of hours every day and reach the "2 300-400 pages novels a month" goal... while working only half a day! I could be "collecting material" the rest of the day, reading romance novels, watching romantic movies, watching half-naked pretty boys on the internet and rolling in the hay...

Also, I am a good writer. I have a natural, good style and understanding of what is good and what is not, and good imagination. I am really good at inventing plots. There really isn't anything to stop me from being a prolific, beloved and GOOD writer - except, of course, that I DON'T WRITE!!!

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
-- Thomas Alva Edison

Brenda Coulter: Writing Tips for Aspiring Romance Authors


"If you're hoping to find a shortcut, there isn't one. Do the legwork, like I did and like everyone else has to do. Go to the library. Surf the Web. Join Romance Writers of America. Take a class, read a couple of how-to-write-romance books, and always, always write. If you can't be bothered to do these things then believe me, you don't have what it takes to become a published romance author."


I don't need to surf the web, join RWA, take a class or read any how-to-write books. I need to read and write. That's it. But, sure, if I can't be bothered to do the footwork, that is to read and write, I don't have what it takes to become a published author.

"And just about anyone can become a published writer. (Don't believe me? What? You mean you've never read a terrible book?) If writing is your dream, then write. And if your heart's desire is to be published, don't wait for success to fall into your lap. Go after it."

Exactly... perhaps my book won't get published, but it most certainly won't get published if it is not even written!

"Oh, and one more thing. About the money. There isn't any."

I know, no-one gets rich by writing, except J.K.Rowling and perhaps Diana Gabaldon, and I don't think I'm either, (on the other hand, neither did either of them some time ago... Isn't it interesting? Outlander came out 1991 and Harry Potter 1997... ) but if I write over 20 books a year, and hopefully some of them get published, I should be able to at least support myself with writing. So - let's write a book in month and see what happens then.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God, give me grace to deal with critique

I read about Alice Hoffman's outburst on bad critique... day after I watched how Sherrilyn Kenyon treated her fans... and, God, I pray I can ignore the bad critique, because that will be there... or not ignore, but learn what I can and ignore the fact that "someone doesn't like everything I write!"
I also pray that I will be able to use the good critique as encouragement and support and not use it to get pompous, arrogant bitch.

Not everyone is going to like what I write, but if I ever get published by a "real" publisher, there will be some who will like my story and writing, at least the editor :-D Let me remember this and write for those and not start thinking I'm something amazing or something worthless, because I'm neither. I'm just me.

I like Diana Gabaldon's and Neil Gaiman's blogs... and there are many other authors who seem to have kept their head even after the success. :-) I hope I'll remember that when I am there myself... I hope I'll get there one day :-D

Monday, July 13, 2009

Barbara Cartland's secret

The secret behind Barbara Cartland's prolificy was the fact that SHE DIDN'T WRITE THE BOOKS.
She had a secretary who wrote the books. Barbara only told the stories.
So, if you are a millionaire, you get yourself a secretary and an editor, who will do the boring job of writing, and you just sit on your behind, eat chocolate and fondle your lapdog.

Now, considering this, it is not fair that she is in the Guinness book of record as the most prolific author. She is a storyteller, not a writer!

But - rest in peace... She would have done the boring job too if she had needed to...

Writing isn't boring. It's just story telling. What is boring is editing - correcting the language, grammar and finding a better way of saying a thing. Killing your darlings, stripping away all the unnecessary words (2/3 of them...)... editing. It would be so nice if there was some editor, secretary or ghost writer who could do that for me. I would love to be "just" a storyteller.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Damn I feel bad...

I'm really depressed. Horribly depressed. Sad. Want to cry.
I'm on diet. I don't want to be on diet. I don't want to weigh 242 pounds. On the other hand, it's more fun to count pounds. I have lost 5 pounds already. Ha. I'm not happy about it. Oh, yes, I am, but I'm not happy. Period.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Haha!

I really don't write this little in the real life. I keep writing all the time. Every available scrap of paper is filled with ideas, words, dialogue... the problem is that it's just bits and bobs. Nothing makes sense. I suppose that's better than nothing, but... I WANT TO BE A WRITER!

I have such amazing dreams... I wish I could catch them and fasten them on paper and share with you.