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

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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.