Thursday, December 30, 2010
To write. That’s it. My 2011 writer’s resolution is to simply write. No long, drawn out master plans broken down into months and WIPs. I’m not pigeonholing myself this year. My goal is to write every day for 365 and 1/4th days straight. I’ll shoot for 100 words or more a day, but if I don’t make it here and there I’m not going to sweat it.
I have one book finished and ready for final edits, one complete outline for a second, and the bones of a third. If I finish them all before midnight on 12/31/11, great! If I don’t, oh well. With any luck I’ll still be around on 2012 to finish them.
If I sign with an agent, Hell Yeah! If I don’t, I’ll still write. It’s what I do.
Happy New Year everyone!
I’ll admit it makes for a redundant post, but to move forward with 2011’s resolutions I had to take a look back to 2010. I may not have finished everything on the overachieving list, but I can honestly say I’m proud of what I did accomplished.
2009 was a year to remember for you. Two written novels, one contracted, one very close, three short stories entered into paying contests, a webpage, a BlogSpot, and 165 Facebook friends. For someone with mediocre computer skills, you did well. 2009 was a year of firsts. 2010 will be the year of great accomplishments.
You’ve proven yourself a writer. No more hiding in the closet and only writing when everything in your busy life is complete. This year writing moves to the front seat of your life. This will be the year you prepare to make the leap from hobby to career.
Don’t worry, I know how you are. If the goals aren’t clear and a timeline in place, you’ll never stick to it. I’ve taken the initiative to do a little planning for you. All your goals are reachable, and your timeline flexible, but you still have quite a bit of work on your hands.
January will be a month for cleansing and preparation. You will finish the edits to Guarded Hearts and you will revise your query and synopsis. Oh, and just your luck Romance Writers of America meets in your city. I’ve signed you up to be a guest at the first meeting of the year. I’ve also started a blog to keep you on task. Your daily blog at writing.com should help. Just remember to post goals daily.( Made it a CWR meeting in July and started edits on Guarded Hearts.)
February will bring a new challenge, actually outlining a story before you write it. Hey, you’re the one who said you wanted to add depth to your stories. You will also research agents and get Guarded Hearts ready to send. I’m pulling for Harlequin Super Romance for this one, so get your tushie in gear. (Outline done, but Harlequin is still waiting.)
March is the unofficial, official March NaNo in the Novel Workshop. That great outline you just finished in February will help you reach those fifty thousand words in no time. And don’t think those sixteen hundred odd words get you out of submitting. WOW (Women on Writing) is expecting a short story from you by the end of the month. I was thinking something about being the parent of an autistic child. It’s about time you started writing about him. (Hum. . . started outlined story. . . )
April is going to be wild. Besides filing away those letters from agents, I’ve signed you up to teach a workshop at the Novel Workshop’s Workshop. Don’t worry too much. You’re teaching the Rough Draft in Thirty Days and using You NaNo novel as an example. (The workshop was a success even with being out of town for a week. Continued working on WIP. Submitted Guarded Hearts and signed a contract, but no short stories. Still very proud of my accomplishments for a very busy month.)
May is usually a crazy month for you, and I’m thinking this will be the month you hear from your editor about Awenasa Island, so I’m leaving things pretty open. However, this is not the time to get lazy. Make sure you are writing morning pages, reviewing at the romance house, writing short stories, (a few entries to the Writer’s Cramp wouldn’t hurt), and of course there’s always editing to be done. Your NaNo novel has been marinating on the shelf for a month now so feel free to pick it up and start edits. (Finished edits for Awenasa Island and released the e-book and print! YEAH!)
Ah, now we get to June. I know it’s your favorite month. Enjoy your time at the beach house but don’t forget to rest, relax, review and edit. Oh, and don’t neglect those agent letters. If you don’t have one by now, might be time to starting making some changes to Guarded Hearts.(Kinda forgot about those agent letters, but did make my top ten list for the next WIP.)
July will be mostly the same except I’m thinking this would be a great time to finish up old projects, like your March NaNo book, and plan some new ones. Short stories are always in order, and then there is the outline for your personal NaNo book in August. By now you should be an old pro at outlines. (Continued work in WIP and joined the CWR (Carolina Romance Writers)
August is the month of your personal NaNo. Thirty-one days to write fifty-thousand words. Don’t even think about telling me you’re too tired at this point unless you DON’T plan to be a professional writer. Let’s just put things into perspective. Bigger house, showing horses again, not worrying about bills… all the motivation you need to enjoy those sleepless nights. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, Plenty of motivation, but not enough time or energy. Just worked on finishing WIP)
September should be easy going. You will submit your March NaNo book to your new agent and he/she will love it. Celebrate this movement! Enjoy your success then get back to work. You will be thankful you put in a little effort now when November NaNo rolls around. (Finished March WIP and started outlining November NaNo book.)
October will be NaNo outlining and August NaNo book editing. This would also be a great time to catch up on blogs, webpage posts, ect. (Outlined NaNo book and listened to the RWA Conference on DVD. How do people remember all that wonderful information in a week. Took me three to get through the DVD version.)
November NaNo is finally here again. Despite what you might think you do still have fifty-thousand words left in you. Just think, after this month you will have five novels completed. Think where five novels could get you. Remember to spend a little time giving thanks to all the people who have gotten you here; writing.com, the girls and guy and the Romance House, Bluewood Publishing, The Novel Workshop’s Workshop, Your new agent, family, friends, and most of all, YOU! (Won my first Nano and decided to NEVER do it again. I have 60K of crap that will never see the light of day.)
December is always a month of joy. Hopefully you will be working with your agent on edits this month. Don’t forget this is also the year you spend the holidays with your family. Take some time off to enjoy them. Reflect back on how far you’ve come in twelve months. Pat yourself on the back for your efforts, commit to learning from your mistakes, and above all, be proud. You are one year closer to becoming a professional writer! (I didn’t come as far as I had hoped on the writing front but I learned an immeasurable amount about writing, my voice, my style, and the types of stories I want to produce. The writing will come but the lessons learned are priceless.)
Love and God Bless,
Saturday, December 11, 2010
No long explanations needed here. Have you ever thought to edit out of order? Instead of focusing on the flow of the story as a whole, do you focus on the flow of just one scene? Does it have all of the elements; conflict, character development, motivation? How about the dialogue, does it move the story along as well as give a glimpse into the speaker? Are your characters staying true, and is there both a push and a pull in the scene?
Editing out of order helps you bring in the scope. Each scene, or chapter depending on how you write, should be able to stand alone as its own story. Once you’re satisfied with the smaller parts, the whole, chronological edit, will be a breeze.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Alright, I’m sure I’m not the only person to think of this one, but it did take me three years to figure it out.
Romance is bred from conflict. The more hoops the main characters have to jump through to reach their Happy Ever after, the more interesting the story, right?
I’ve often thought of my characters as magnets (cue the scene from The Cutting Edge, where what’s-her-name compares her love for Doug Dorsey to magnets, repelling each other until one is flipped.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about, rent the movie. It’s a classic.
That magnetic push and pull is easy to create with one simple step. Think opposites attract. If your hero has a strong moral compass, than let the heroine veer off the virtue path. Maybe the heroine is an animal lover and the hero a deer hunter. You get the point. The push and pull creates conflict and a multitude of natural obstacles for both the LF and LM to overcome.
After all, the Happy Ever Afters that take great effort to reach are the ones we all swoon for. Make those heroes and heroines work to reach them!