Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writer’s Wednesday - Finish First Draft


Wednesday, March 30

Today, I continue on the advice front. This bit of advice worked for me: Complete my book’s first draft without hesitation. This means that I wrote through to the end of my manuscript without stopping for edits. It also meant that I did not worry about getting it perfect. This goes along with the sitting down and writing every day.

Many authors I’ve talked to over the years stated that one first has to put words down on the paper. With me, this means that I rein in my internal editor and start writing. If I think of something that needs to be done to the previous pages, I make note of it in all-Caps, highlight it with the highlight tool, and keep writing. This turned out to be the only way I could finish my book.

With my first book, I ended up rewriting my first chapter 17 times, my second chapter 13 times and so forth by the time I got to my fifth or sixth chapter. I never did finish that book because I spent so much time editing that I got frustrated with the book.

In other words, if I did not rein in my internal editor and push to the end of my work, I wouldn’t get it done in the first place. My book would end up edited to death because I would lose interest in it.

In contrast, I have heard others say that they could not just sit and write for the sake of writing. On one of my listserves, a member stated that why participate in NaNoWriMo if all you do is going to write garbage. Not write at all for fear of writing garbage!!! That is why I thought it was called a first draft.

My answer to that would be to quote Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb: "I can fix a bad page, but I can't fix a blank one."

Amen to that. So, my readers, start writing. (Now, I need to put butt in chair and fix my first draft. Big Grin)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Thought’s

Sunday, March 27

Hello. I hope your day is being a bit more productive than mine. For some reason, I have gotten myself into one of my information overload modes. When I get in this mode, so much information courses through my mind that I tend play or waste time instead of write or work on my goals.

To break the effects of information overload, I focus on one item and push everything else out of my mind. That is what I am doing right now. By forcing myself to zero in on one project, I can accomplish one of my goals: to build a blog post twice a week.

In the first part of March, my blog contains a few empty spots where blog posts should reside. For the last few weeks though, I managed to get something up on my blog twice a week. Yes, sometimes the posts showed up a day late, but I am getting better at building them.

Yesterday was a beautiful day though warm. Though cold weather returned overnight. Of the two, I prefer warm over cold. Cold weather tends to bring on my gout. Plus, it seems that I can’t get warmed up enough when it is cold around here.

The thing is that if I do not write, Mr. Grumpy shows up. Wait a sec.; someone’s knocking at the door.

My goal for this next week will be to focus my thoughts on my writing and just put the words on the page. See ya on Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writer’s Wednesday - Advice


Wednesday, March 23

Again, I will be discussing advice received from my fellow writers. This time I will cover writing time and writer’s block.

The first thing my fellow writers told me to do is to not wait for inspiration to write. If I do, I wouldn’t get anything done. That’s true for me. Inspiration arrives at the most inopportune time - like while driving, at a restaurant, or other locations where I find it hard to write and do not have the resources to record the idea.

Then, there are times that I do not feel like writing. Place that on top of the times I sit to write but my muse decides to take a vacation. My ideas flee as I sit to write.

Yet, to get over this writer’s block, my friends tell me to sit at my keyboard and start writing whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what it is, just put “butt in chair; hands on keyboard.” One other thing I do is to start playing “What if…” games. Soon, I find that I am able to write. Yes, the beginning will probably be deleted but I would have something accomplished.

Another way that they tell me that helps is if I sit down and write at the same time every day. I know one author who would edit four pages and then write four pages before she left for work in the morning.

When I write at the same time everyday, I anticipate my writing and tend to start thinking about my story before I start.

Now, for my advice to my fellow writers, I suggest that one should not wait for inspiration before writing. One should pick a particular time during the day, select a writing goal of word count or of a specified period, and sit down and write. If one finds herself/himself with a blank mind, start playing ‘What if…’ games with what s/he had already written.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Visiting Blogs

Sunday, March 20

Today, I chose to go to the net and look at the various blogs that I have bookmarked. Out of the thirty that I keep an eye on, several caught my attention and may note the message for today. I left comments on two pages as well. I try to visit some of these blogs at least three times a week.

The main reason I cruise blogs is to look for material that I may be able to enhance my characters among other things. It is almost like a study in human behavior sometimes.

For instance, in Maeve Greyson’s March 5 post, she notes how she needed a break and how her husband provided it. Now, what about your characters? Could they need a break? Who will step up and assist them or will they decide to take a break on her/his own? You can read the post I refer to at http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/2011/03/its-true-he-is-my-better-half.html.

Another blog site questions whether technology is good or bad. The Romance Bandits’ March 18 blog discusses the pros and cons of technology. This too can be fodder for enhancing one’s story. And, one shouldn’t forget the comments at the end of a post. Some can contain interesting information. You can find this post at http://romancebandits.blogspot.com/2011/03/technology-good-or-bad.html.

Another site that I visit quite often is the one called Attacking the Page. They provide both writing and martial art advice and information. You can visit them at http://attackingthepage.wordpress.com/.

Do you have any favorite web sites? Do they offer inspiration to your writing? If so, in what way?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writer’s Wednesday - 2011-03-16


Wednesday, March 16

Today, I continue my series on ‘advice given by other authors.’ Today’s topic will cover conferences and the reasons why one should attend them.

As Sunday’s (actually Monday’s) post indicated, I just returned from NOLA STARs’ Written in the Stars 2011 Conference. I enjoyed this conference and came home inspired to work on my writing projects.

To me, this is one reason I enjoy going to conferences. One can return reinvigorated with the energy to push himself/herself to continue writing on those projects that one started. The reason I come home reinvigorated is that I get to network with my friends and meet new friends to converse with in the future.

Networking with those who also write and understand where I come from when I begin talking about my writing. Like minded people tend to encourage and to boost each other in their writing craft.

Then there are the workshops. One can learn new techniques that may help him/her build on skills that add dimension to one’s work.

Finally, there are the agent/editor workshops and appointments. The workshops offer information about those particular agents or editors. They can answer questions about what type of material they currently seek.

The one-on-one appointments allow one to pitch one or more story ideas with the agent and editor. An author has a better chance of getting his/her work seen by these agents or editors after these appointments.

Also, one may get a chance to socialize these agents/editors as well. These contacts an increase one’s chances of getting published.

Several members of the writer’s group in which I belong (NOLA STARs’) attribute their publication directly to attending conferences. A few mentioned that they met his/her agent or editor at the conference and struck up conversations with them. When it came time to pitch his/her work, he/she already had a rapport with the agent or editor. This previous contact made the process much easier to approach them for publication.

So, conferences do have a place in one’s career. Attending them allows one to increase his/her contact base and increases the chance one has of getting published. At least, that is my take on conference.

So, have you attended a conference lately?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday Observations - One Day Late

Sunday, March 13

Hello everyone. It keeps happening. The days I want to post to my blog keep flying by before I have a chance to build my twice-a-week chat. Even today’s post is one day late. Yet, I am determined to get it written and uploaded.

Today, the subject of my ranting will cover the NOLA STARs’ Written in the Stars 2011 Conference. It officially ended for me Sunday morning when I checked out of the hotel.

It seems that the conference gets better every year. This year I enjoyed the networking and the workshops. I forced myself to get off my butt and network with other attendees.

I took a record number of photos this time. When I checked my camera, I found over 270 photos on the memory stick. Thus, I made a total pest of myself. (Big Grin)

Now, I do not know how well the photos will come out nor how many of them will appear in the Nola Stars Scrapbook. It will take me a couple of weeks to a month and a half to get them all edited. That will be one of my chores to complete before the end of April.

This time, I attended four workshops and had one agent appointment. In the agent appointment, I must have been excited because I found my mind racing a mile-a-minute. When that happens, I tend to sound like an idiot. But the agent asked me to send her the first 50 pages of my manuscript when I get it finished. This will be the incentive I needed to get my backside back in the chair and start working on the edits to my book.

The first workshop I attended covered what was needed to create a critique group. Kassy Paris
did a great job explaining the do’s and don’t’s of putting together a critique group.

Then came the workshop on strategic career planning for romance writers by Alexis Walker. She gave an excellent workshop on planning out one’s goals. I will be implementing the ones I remember into my goals planning.

Now, the one I really needed was the workshop on “sprucing up your humor with funny stuff.” I know I have a good sense of humor but integrating it into my writing has turned out to be a chore. Darynda Jones explained ways that an author can integrate humor in his/her writing. The handout she gave us shows over 14 methods of adding humor.

The final workshop of my day covered plotting a series. Delilah Devlin and Elle James gave the basics of putting together a series. This caught my attention in that I have several series in the works. It also showed me that I have more work to do when it comes to my series

All-in-all, I came away a bit more knowledgeable and inspired. I am ready to work on my writing. I plan to work on my series ‘bibles’ to flesh out the information for my books.