Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NaNo. . . and Here We Go

After a debacle over my Golden Heart status, i.e. I’m published therefore cannot compete in the awards this year, (my life should be so horrible, really) I’ve decided to put the rough draft of current WIP, now marinating WIP, on the shelf and start outlining a new idea for National Novel Writing Month in November. I’m sure all my followers are well versed in this ridicules ritual we writers seem to feel the need to enter, but in case anyone is new to the sport, check out the NaNo WriMo info here.

When He gives you lemon, make Lemon Drop Martinis I say. If you remember all the way back to April, I taught a workshop on outlining the first draft. Well, I’ve learned a few tricks since then and I’ll share as I go along.

The first is a throw-back to my education days. I needed a simple and quick reference for all the info I forget while writing. What was that guy’s name again? What street was their house on? Green eyes or blue? With the goal of 50K in 30 days there is no time to search back through my 40+ page outline for these little details. Instead I create a fact folder.

This picture isn’t great, but you get the idea. Start at the bottom of a cheap file folder. Write each character’s name, setting, plot points, anything you will need to reference quickly on the bottom of an index card. I like the colored ones. From the bottom of the folder moving up, tape each card down so the title at the bottom shows.

When you’re done, you have a flip chart if facts, and a folder to keep all your extras in. As you can see from mine, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Happy writing ya’ll

Friday, September 24, 2010


I’m totally lagging today. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, or the looming edits for WIP. Maybe the news that I’m not eligible for the Golden Heart because… I won’t go there. I have enough battles to wage.

Whatever the reason, I’m in need of some hotness. Join me won’t you.

Let’s start with something sweet yet tantalizing. Mr. Bloom

Now, on to a tried and true fav for me (all the way back to the Newsies days) Mr. Bale

Mr. Somerhalder. Enough said.

Mr. Skarsgård because I hope he eats Bill Compton.

Mr. Manganiello for the same reason as Mr. Skarsgård

And we’ll end with a man I wouldn’t mind spending some time listening too. Sexy voiced Mr. Armitage.

Happy Friday. Enjoy the eye candy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Morning Thoughts-Wish I had Thought Them Sooner

Ever since reading Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write, I have tried to vein to complete Morning Pages. Sounds easy enough, wake up 15 minutes early and write whatever comes to mind. I’ve tried for a year now to complete these seemingly dauntless pages, but I have very little to show for all the effort.

This week the answer came to me. Morning Thoughts.

I’m a snooze bar hitter. Oh yeah, like 4 or 5 times every morning. I relish that time between awareness and dream when for a few minutes I can float above reality. I do my best thinking on the flipside of reality, btw. In those snippets of time between alarms, my brain is clear and uninhibited by the day’s stress. Why not plot then?

This week’s little 9 minute (that’s the time between alarms on my clock) plotting sessions have worked me out of some fantastic story jams. I’m telling you, I feel like I’ve chased the rainbow and found the pot of gold! I lie there and think, and think, and then I spring up, full of positive energy, and run for the notebook. It’s incredible!

Try it for a few mornings and let me know what you think?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Don’t Do Recommendations

And most of the time I’m a year behind everyone else’s TBR pile, but in case anyone’s been under a bookcase (instead of rock…it sounded good in my head. Anyway) The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y. K. Lee is a must.

I’m not sure what it is I like so much. To be honest the first few pages had me baffled, but the more I read, the more I fall in love with Lee’s voice. There’s no rhyme or reason to her style, it’s just her thoughts, the way she thought them, put to page and wow, they make for great reading.

Her visions are so clear and concise yet the story is never bogged down with heavy descriptions. At times her mind rambles, but everything she says is like a little nugget of gold that pulls you in, wanting more! Love it!

If you’ve read The Piano Teacher, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Holy Ham Hocks Batman, Did That Just Happen?

My fingers just glossed over those 6 little letters that say: Yeah, You Did It, but mean: Wow, The Fun’s Just Starting For You!

THE END—Translated into writer’s terms this loosely means- WELCOME TO THE REAL WORK. FORGET SLEEP, LEARN TO LIVE WITH HUNGER, FORGO THE BATHS, you won’t need one away--no one visits your office. Oh, and if you’re missing pens, pencils, or small animals, check the knot of unwashed hair on your head.

The edits are coming soon, but for now I’m going to enjoy this little victory and take a small break. My TBR pile is toppling over and There are Soooo many workshops I want to sign up for including one on the Golden Heart.

On to celebrate small victories while they last. Edits are HELL!!!!!

A Must Read Blog Post, and No, I Didn't Write it.

11 Questions for Crafting a Pitch, by Rachelle Gardner.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

FELT- Jilted from the Story

Picture it, 1939, Sicily. Most of us see Estelle Getty from the Golden Girls when we hear a line like that. Boy, she could tell some tells. So could Rose for that matter, but I digress.

How many times have you found yourself so caught in the action of a story you forget you were reading only to be YANKED from the narrative by one of these words; felt, wished, thought, wondered?

PLEASE, for the love of all things literary, don’t use these words in your story. Nothing pulls a reader from the action faster than being reminded they are in fact reading. Strike all the, felt, heard, saw, wondered, thought, etcetera, etcetera from your MS right now!

You’ll thank me later.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Very Short Note on Character Development

Poor internal conflict is often the nemesis of a great story line. I think the issue comes mostly from the misunderstanding of what true internal conflict really is.

Internal conflict is not something as simple as a misunderstanding, or an argument. It is a deep rooted character trait, created and cultivated in the character’s back-story. The struggle or conflict has to be overcome in order for the hero/heroine to move forward.

Examples of weak internal conflict

“I thought I saw you kiss another girl.” – Well, did he or didn’t he kiss her? One conversation between the main characters and this conflict can be resolved.

One way I’ve seen this put is, if your character were dropped off in outer space he/she would still have the same struggles to overcome.

Example: A woman mourning the loss of a child
A man betrayed by a lover
Someone riddled with guilt over a decision that ruined the life of a loved one.

These are things that cannot be resolved over a phone call. These are deep rooted conflicts that will take great sacrifice to overcome.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tips for Writer’s Block

The BLOCK happens to everyone at some point in their writing career. For most of us, it happens as often as the common cold.

My recent bout of the disease hit about the same time my summer vacation ended and I had to go back to work. Time has become a premium and the fear of wasting it keeps me from being productive; that and the seriously droopy eyes from waking up at 5 a.m. I’ve even noticed my publisher commented on the dreaded block on his blog this week. Must be catching!

Here are a few tips I use to help fend off the Block.
• Be Proactive, not Reactive. Take writing breaks and keep your ‘skills’ sharp. When the words start to fade and your mind wonders, take a break. Anything from taking a walk to refresh the mind, to a mini shopping trip, to an hour in the park with the family. If you enjoy other creative outlets, put them to use now. Create a show-stopping dinner, paint the sunset from you window…you get the idea.

• Inspiration in a Box. I don’t have much time to write during the week, usually whatever is left over from the day after work, home, and family. To help jump right back into a story I keep a small box loaded with items to help me ‘get into the mood’ of the story quickly. A scented candle, a CD of music matching the theme of the story, pictures of the setting, characters, and a copy of a plot outline help me pick up where I dropped off with little lag time.

• Refill the Creativity Well. Take your muse on a date. As odd as it sounds, when I get stuck I take my muse to the Goodwill. It’s cheap, close by, and full of an odd assortment on items that tickle my muse’s fancy. What gets your creative juices flowing? Maybe it’s a chat with a fellow writer, a good book, a weekend trip away, whatever it is, remember to be kind to your muse and treat her/him well.

What are your tricks of the trade when battling the BLOCK?


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Anwenasa Interview

Come on over to for my first interview on Awenasa Island!