July 27, 2011

Hell. Hell. Hell.

Yes, I'm still in Revision Hell with my third novel. I've never had such a hard time writing. It could be because of school. It could be because of work. Or even lack of motivation/inspiration. The entire novel is being rewritten.

That is sad in itself so I feel like this:

But I am making the manuscript better. I am taking one more step toward publication. I am making pages, even if they are just revisions. I made it all the way to Chapter 8, but realized I had to start over again because I wasn't happy with the way certain scenes were arranged and the way I had written them. So now, I'm in Chapter 2 :)

It's slow, but sure. One day I will finish these revisions and my critique group will see it. One day I will submit to agents and publishers.

Where are you with your summer writing? Making progress?

July 25, 2011

Self-Publishing Intensive

If you are considering self-publishing because the slushpile to too big or your work just isn't what the industry is looking for, self-published author and success story Kris Tualla is offering a 5-day intensive to teach you the ins and outs of self-publishing.

Visit http://www.savvyauthors.com/ to register for this intensive that starts on August 16th or click here to be taken directly to the page.

July 19, 2011

Shall I Compare Thee to Traditional Publishing?

If you can't tell, I've been studying Shakespeare. A lot. :) But that's not what this post is about. Today I want to talk about Self-Publishing and E-Publishing.

Let me just make one point here. Self-Publishing and E-Publishing are not the same thing.

Self-Publishing means you have gone to the extra mile, after pitching your book to traditional publishers, and have taken it upon your self to publish your book without an agent or traditional publisher. In other words, you are not published, but your book is for sale. 

E-publishing is a type of publishing. This road can be taken through traditional publishers or through Self-Publishing, but your book is in electronic form. You can have both print and electronic versions of your book, print-on-demand or strictly electronic formatting

What I want to discuss today is a combination of the two.

My second novel, LET ME OUT, is with my critique group. I have queried the hell out of this book, but probably not as much as other writers have done with their books. I've been asked for 2 partials. In the end, both agents rejected the book. This could be for a number of reasons, as we all know, but I am still really passionate about this book and I want to see it available to the masses.

That brings me to the meat of my post.

Once the group is through with the manuscript, I will query one more round. If I haven't yielded any results by the end of the year, I am going to self-publish. I thought my decision would be a lot harder to make, but after a great RWA meeting this last weekend, it's official. My book will be available for others to read come hell or highwater.

I will have to self-promote like crazy. I will have to manage a full-time job, school and selling my book all at one time, but I'm going to do it.

What is the hardest decision you've had to make in your writing career? Are you considering self-publishing? 

July 17, 2011

Building Your World

World-building is key in fiction, especially within the genres of Paranormal, Futuristic, Sci-fi and Fantasy. Now, I'm not a writer of those genres, but many people are and you can see how the same rules apply across all genres.

This set of information came from my RWA meeting yesterday and I was surprised by how much I didn't know about building a world. All of my novels are set in contemporary United States, but as I read over the rules of world-building, I was able to apply all of them even to my genre.

World-building builds your plot if you think about it. The world you build dictates who is in it, therefore, creates your characters (especially their past) and their actions. The world also dictates who or what is your antagonist. If your first step to writing your novel is world-building, you will be able to answer the who, what, when and where. Once you figure that out, your plot will materialize right behind it.

Let's jump into the rules of building your world:

1. Know your own world inside and out.
2. Know the genre of your world.
3. Read the top authors - historical and contemporary.
4. Create a theme - 25 words or less that will be a tag-line you can stick to throughout the novel.
5. Intimately know your characters.
6. Know the GMC for each character.
7. Suspend disbelief - your world will be based on some type of fact whether it is Sci-fi (based on science), Futuristic (the contemporary world flung into the future), Fantasy or Paranormal. Make your readers believe it is possible for this world to exist. Remember, however, you cannot suspend the rules of physics if you want to suspend your readers disbelief.
8. Keep your rules straight throughout the entire novel
9. Make a bible. A notebook or file that will help you remember, and keep straight, all of the rules you've laid out.

These are also a few questions to keep in mind when you begin to build your world:

1. Do your characters fit in this world?
2. What is your conflict? Is it a person, thing or event?
3. What are the rules?
4. What is the environment like?
5. What is going on in this world you've built?

Do you start world-building before you write a single word of your MS? What helps you to build a world?

July 14, 2011

Critique Techniques

One of the members of my critique group found this awesome post by Heather Hummel, multi-published author. Check it out here.

I'm starting my first critique tonight for my very first critique group. I'm nervous. I'm excited. I hope I do a good job and they won't kick me out! Wish me luck :)

July 12, 2011

The Craft

The Craft of Writing will be my career (as long as I can help it!) and so there is a lot I do and a lot of places I go in order to learn more. Through the past year, I've attended almost all of my RWA meetings, joined a critique group and researched the hell out of getting published.

To make the story short: I have a lot of handouts and notes.

Since this Craft will be my life's work and I have such a horrible memory, I keep them all. Right now, however, they are all in an ugly, blue, floppy folder. This floppy folder:

I have a mix of things like articles on dialogue to basic and advanced character charts in here. They are not organized and they are not accessible unless I want to go through hundreds of pages to find the information I want.

Solution: The Craft Binder.  [Dramatic music...]

This is just the beginning. It will be pretty. It will be colorful. It will be organized.

It will be my bible.

Organized sections thus far will include: Plotting, Character development/GMC, Setting/World-building, Query, Synopsis, Formatting and Critiquing. By organizing my notes, handouts and research, I will be able to stay on top of my craft and help other writers out with advice. Yay me :)

How do you handle the onslaught of information you gather from friends, organization and family about this Craft? Willing to share ideas?

July 10, 2011

Take Your Time

My first novel took me three months to write. My second, six months. The third took even less. And what am I discovering? The less time I take to write the first draft, the more I have to revise. The same goes for query letters and synopsis.

I currently have two books to edit and seven to write. I'm anxious to finish the book I'm revising now. I want to start submitting it to BETA readers, write the synopsis and send out the query. I want to move on, but I know that if I rush, I will make mistakes. I will be forced to work on the MS far longer than if I'd taken my time and I will lose my passion for it.

I've always been told to finish the first draft quickly. Rush through it then go back and edit. This has worked for me in the past, but I'm not sure it has worked well. Some authors, such as Laurell K Hamilton, (seriously, if you don't read her blog go now. She shares a lot of her writing techniques) edit while they write, go back a few pages the next day, edit them again and then move on with the draft. This seems to work well for her and I'm now considering editing while I draft in order to limit my frustration as she does.

Perhaps I would not be so anxious/frustrated to get my books out if I wasn't so sick of editing them over and over.

What makes you anxious about your work? Do you edit as you draft?

July 7, 2011


Not that kind of recycling, but you should to that too. I'm talking about recycling those scenes that don't make it into your final MS.

Laurell K. Hamilton is famous for this with her Anita Blake series. If she writes a fantastic scene and it doesn't fit perfectly into the book she's working on, she saves it for the next book.

I'm just now discovering this tactic. One of the main problems with the MS I'm currently revising is that I didn't know what scene to use for Chapter 1. Of course, I needed a suspensful scene, one that kept the reader wanting more, but I had a lot of those (in my opinion). So, I decided to trash my original (my MC was waking up under an overpass - don't do this by the way) and write an entirely new one. Rhianna's Russian Roulette song was my inspiration.

I made a scene in which my MC is playing Russian Roulette. It's short, not even two pages, but is packed with suspense, emotion and a hell of a lot of fear. I thought it was perfect...until the more I read it, the more I hated it in this book.

The scene just didn't fit. I couldn't explain why. My MC is desperate for money. She'll do anything to get it and Russian Roulette is a way to make fast cash. But Russian Roulette wasn't for my MC. It didn't feel as if it could be real. So I chopped it.

I don't know about you, but I keep all scenes that don't make it into the book in a separate file for each MS. Just in case I change my mind. And luckily for me, this scene, which is a great scene, will end up making an appearance as the hook in a totally different book. All I need to do is change my character's name.

Do you recycle your deleted scenes? Or are they too dear to use for another project?

July 3, 2011

Rediscovering My Passion

I've taken a break from my third novel, BLEED IT OUT, for about 2 months now. This is the book I realized I had to rewrite from beginning to end. With this realization, I honestly considered giving up writing. Not only was this book getting a MAJOR makeover, my second novel was not getting any requests from agents, school was overwhelming me and my muse had abandoned me.

I almost quit.

And then...

This weekend I took at look at my Pinterest board for this book. I had lost my passion for the book. I knew that, but I couldn't figure out why until today.

It's because of her (red frame).

Meet Torrhent Lynd, my main character and the loss of my motivation. I'm not sure why, but the woman in the picture rubs me the wrong way. When I first wrote the book, Torrhent was seventeen. But now, she is twenty-four, a grown woman, and this picture does not show a woman. I'd based Torrhent's appearance off of this picture for the entire novel, but what I was seeing in my mind and the words on the page weren't matching up.

So I set out to find another Torrhent and some more inspiration. I spent nearly two hours redesigning my board and getting my notes in order to start on the book again. Here's the new board:

My new Torrhent is in red, I'm adding another character to spice up the conflict (in blue) and found a different photo for my second MC, Taigen Banvard. There is a lot changing with this book, but just by changing out a picture of my MC, I began to see a whole new vision for the book and seeing myself finishing it.

How do you get your passion back?

July 1, 2011

Pay Me to Critique - or Not

For those of you who don't already know, I'm in school for my bachelors degree in English Lit to start a career in editing. Next year, I apply to grad school. Yep, I want to work for a publishing house some day. At least, that's the goal. So this post by the amazing Cassandra Marshall, writer, literary intern and freelance editor, was very informative.

Let's say you've been critiquing other writer's manuscripts and you love it so much that you want to get paid for it. Did you know that you would need a business license and look into income taxes? What about the amount of money you'd actually get paid for this work?

Are you able to give writers advice to help them grow and sharpen their craft? Are you willing to continue your education by keeping up on the market, reading the trends (about 25 books at a time according to Cassandra), and taking courses AFTER you've already gone to school for your MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)?

If you haven't read Cassandra's post and you're interested in making editing your career (like me :) ), check it out over at her blog.

Are there any of you out there wanting to turn your critiques into jobs?