Check Out This Link

Monday, September 21, 2009
I found this blog while scanning through some agent ones. It has a lot of information of on the last Writer's Digest Conference.

Check it out!

Also, funny thing happened to me yesterday. A neighbor of mine commented on how pretty I looked on my facebook page. "Absolutely gorgeous," she said. "You looked so stunning."

I smiled, genuinely pleased. "Thank you."

Studying me, she shook her head in disbelief. "It really looks nothing like you."

My eyebrows flew up and I had to suppress a snort. "Uh . . . I guess I clean up well?"

I love it when people offer you insults wrapped in praise. lol

5 Mistakes Middling Writers Make

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A middling writer has moved past newbie mistakes. They've learned about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. They may have a published work, a creative writing degree, or an agent. But they have yet to really break in. I consider myself on the high end of this stage, and have suffered from many of these maladies myself.

1. Quitting. Mostly I see this happen because writers feel stuck. They've sent out a few queries to no avail. They've done a few things to further their writing careers (maybe read craft books, joined a crit group, etc), but are unwilling to invest further. Or they simply can't take it anymore. It's just not worth it. After all, this is a tough business.

This is what I call the 'weed out stage.' This is where people who write for the passion of it hang on, and those that are so so find something else to do with their time. Maybe it's for the best. But for those who couldn't give up writing if they wanted to, it's validation that this is really what you're meant to do.

2. Fear of failure. This manifests itself in many ways. I've seen 'closet writers.' People who are afraid to go to conferences because they can't possibly put themselves on the same level as 'real' writers. People who refuse to invest the time, money, and effort. Even people who are afraid of changes--changes like success. But mostly it's the people who want it so badly that they don't even dare try, or fail to push themselves. Because if they fail, they can't live with that (I was one of you once).

These people write, but never with their whole hearts.
3. Laziness. To be a writer, you have to be internally driven. You have to make yourself write. And keep writing. And keep learning. Writing is a lot of work. Work no one is paying you for. Work no one is pushing you to do. Sometimes life interfers, throwing you a curve ball you don't recover from. After the initial love affair dwindles, many just fade away.
4. Frustration. I've seen authors quit because of anger. Anger at rejection. Anger at all the 'time they've wasted.' Anger with the publishing system. This anger colors their writing to the point it kills the writer's joy. When this happens, take a step back and write for the fun of it. Never forget why you write. You write because you love it. If that ever changes, switch careers.
5. Writing what will sell, instead of what speaks to your heart. I've seen writers try so hard to come up with something different. Something new. Something that will sell. It almost never works (in fiction). Often, the ideas are weird. The writing forced. You have to write what you love. Period.

Q4U: What challenges have you faced in your writing career?

The End Is Near

Friday, September 11, 2009
My current WIP is nearing completion. Daughter of Winter is at 65,000 words. I've only got another two or three chapters to add and then I get to start the first rewrite.

Writing the conclusion is always a little intimidating. You have to take all the plot threads you've introduced and tie them up in a neat bow.

After I do a couple/three rewrites, it'll have to marinade for a few months. By six months to a year (depending on how long my rewrites on The Brotherhood and Last Witch take--or the rewrites a publisher requires for Priestess, I'm being positively hopeful here) I should have another novel ready to send out.

A major New York Publisher will of course call me, screaming with joy, at the marvelous marvel that is my newest masterpiece.

Q4U: Where are you in your writing cycle?


This Video Cracked Me Up

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quick Tip: Adding Layers

Friday, September 4, 2009
Adding layers to your story makes it feel deeper and more realistic. I find that I come up with ideas for adding these layers as I go. Oftentimes I don't want to stop my momentum to rewrite the story, so I keep an extra Word document full of notes. After I've finished a rough draft, I go back and add a sentence here, a paragraph there.

Here's a few ideas of things to add to help you find your own layering ideas:

1. Add some type of religious views. Everyone, even atheists, have some set of beliefs. After all, believing in nothing is still a belief. (I add this because I royally suck at it :) )

2. A childhood memory that affects your character. I think it's fun to use something negative/embarrassing/sad. But especially embarrassing. It makes your character more approachable.

3. Some odd, but realistic tradition (they're fun to write!). After all, we Americans have many odd holidays. Halloween comes to mind. If you're writing contemporary, put a twist on a tradition. Like corndogs for Christmas Eve.

4. Myths/superstitions.

5. One flaw. Be it physical like a mole, scar, chipped tooth, broken nose, big ears, bushy eyebrows. I find that writers (me included) describe all the beautiful parts of our heroes and forget to add a flaw. That flaw is important. It makes the character real. Perhaps your character is exceedingly clumsy, stutters, bites her nails. My MC in my WIP bites the inside of her cheek when she's angry. There's a million and one different ways to make our characters imperfect. (Look at yourself for ideas). :)

Q4U: What kinds of flaws do your heroes/heroines have?

How to Write Violent Scenes

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Updated Sept 4th, 09

So I was reading Michelle's post on violence and it got me really thinking. How do you write a violent scene without getting too violent?

The short answer is balance. Plot wise, the villain's evil needs to be balanced by the hero's goodness. The blood and gore by the hero's attempts to stop it. It's all in how your character reacts to the violence, how it affects them, what they think of it. If you're truly in deep POV, it's not too hard.

In the actual scene, space out the violence with descriptions, thoughts, random interuptions (keep reading for an example). Make sure you use all the senses (Taste the blood, hear the ribs crack, feel the gun jump in her hands, smell the powder, etc0. I also like to throw in some random thought. So though your character might be in a fight for his life, he sees a car drive by, the driver oblivious. A dog might bark. These elements all help balance the scene.

If you find it gets too intense, make it so your character can't handle the gore. They cringe and look away etc.--simultaneously sparing your reader.

For example, here's something from my WIP. The scene is incredibly violent, but my character, Ilyenna, is fighting for someone else--Metha, a pregnant woman whose lover is beating her because she dared defy him. I'll color code the violence with the balancing moments. See if it works for you.

Balancing elements (like descriptions)

Metha spit in his face.

The thin line of spittle ran down his cheek. He daubed it with his fingers, gazing at it in shock. Grabbing Metha, he threw her to the floor. Drawing back his foot, he slammed it into her stomach. Metha gasped in shock and pain, curling protectively around her swollen belly. He kicked her again, and again.
Ilyenna’s mind refused to accept what her eyes saw. Time seemed to speed up while the rest of her slowed down. And then she remembered the Argon babies. The ones she had tended. The ones who even now might be dead. Like Metha’s would be.
Rage boiled in her like a gnashing monster. She threw open the door and screamed, “No!” She shoved Darrien.

Without taking his eyes from Metha, he backhanded her so hard that blackness curled in from the outside of her vision.
The blackness receded. Tiny sparks flashed. Shaking her head to clear it, she saw Metha, her face screwed up in agony as Darrien pounded her—his features contorted by a bottomless rage. He wouldn’t stop until she was dead. He’ll kill both her and her baby.

Without thought, she threw herself over Metha, screaming as loud and long as she could, “Rone!” A kick to her already bruised ribs stole her breath. Another made her whole body clench in protest. Another and a scream of pain tore from her throat. Her whole existence revolved around waiting for the next kick and the next explosion of pain. She realized her folly too late. She hadn’t saved anyone.

He’s going to kill all three of us.

Something cracked. It sounded like lightening. At first she thought something inside her had finally snapped, but she didn't feel it. And then the kicks finally stopped.

Ilyenna rolled off Metha and vomited again, and again, and again.

When her wretched finally stopped, she managed to look up.

Rone had come.
He had Darrien underneath him, his fist working the other man into pulp. She tried to shout, but her words came out as little more than a hoarse whisper, “No, Rone, don’t kill him. They’ll execute you.”

The opposite door flung open. Wide eyed, Undon barreled into the room, shouting for his clansmen. But they were already in the room. They must have heard her screams. It took four Tyrans to pull Rone off. Even then, he strained with every fiber of his being to reach Darrien. In his eyes, murder gleamed bright as a newly polished axe.

She realized her hand was wet and looked down. Bright blood pooled beneath her. For a moment, she thought it was hers. But then she remembered Metha. Barely holding on to consciousness, she leaned over the woman. Blood gushed between her legs, soaking everything around her.

I’m a healer. I must help her. But she hurt so much. She couldn’t reach through the pain to her thoughts. Every time she moved, she wanted to scream. But screaming would only make her hurt more.

Undon’s daughters hurried to Metha, grabbing the woman and hauling her out of the kitchen, leaving nothing but a trail of blood as testament to what had happened.

Ilyenna watched them go, trying force herself to get up and help them. Unable to do so.
A face appeared before her. It took a moment for Ilyenna to realize it was Narium. “The dead protect me, what have they done to you?”

Ilyenna tried to shake her head, but it hurt too much. “It’s not my blood.” But she tasted blood in her mouth. Then again, maybe some of it was. Not wanting to make herself sick, she spit it onto the already stained floor.

Narium glanced up. “Get her to the women’s house.”
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