What a month! First let me start off by apologizing to my co-bloggers. Life has really gotten in the way. A few weeks ago I came down with a migraine that lasted a few days and then a sinus infection. My sinus infection cleared quickly enough but no sooner had it cleared than we had an unexpected house guest, and then three more were added to the loop. My household went from two adults, three teenagers and three dogs to three adults, three teenagers, three dogs, two toddlers and an infant.
I'm not sure how you look at things. I kind of wondered if Mercury was in retrograde, but since my technical communications were in working order, I knew that wasn't the case. Anyway, our couch has always been available. We believe in living what we preach. It's no secret that I have a deep Christian faith and I can't speak of God's love if I don't live it.
Now, I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back. Far from it. If I hadn't forgotten to blog over the last few weeks I probably wouldn't have mentioned it at all. But since our house guests are a huge reason for my lack of writing time, computer time, me time or any other time I figured I could share them with you for a moment.
Having them in my house has had its trials and its joys, and I've tried to carry each moment with love and a smile. I've tried not to dwell on my disappointment at my lack of writing time and for the most part it has worked. On Saturday, I was beginning to feel a little down. Getting up before the crack of dawn has never been a habit of mine, especially since I'm usually still up from the day before. By nature I'm a night owl. The first few days I'd get up before the sun and find myself still doing household chores after midnight. Then I started falling asleep on my feet (not quite, but crawling in bed before 9 p.m. is unheard of for me).
I also received a small rejection for a short story on Saturday. There was no disappointment, nothing. More of an 'oh well, life goes on'. A 'maybe I'm not cut out to be a writer' thought passed quickly through my mind. It was chased by 'soon, it'll all come together soon. I just have to find a new rythm' thought.
I continued to love and smile. What else could I do? Kick my guests to the curb for some writing time? Send them to the mission during the holidays? No. Not when the adult guest has been a friend of the family for over thirty years. So I took joy in seeing the little girls get all excited about wearing dresses, stockings and dress shoes (this is something new to them-not the going to church, but the dress-up).
*sigh* Exhaustion. I thought it was difficult getting five people ready for church. I never thought rounding up nine would be possible. I am no Michelle Duggar (for those of you who don't know her she has nineteen or twenty kids).
After church, a wonderful friend walked up to me and asked me about me, and then she asked if I was able to work on my writing. Sadly, the answer was no. She smiled and said she'd been praying for me all week and that I was getting lots of inspiration.
It took me twenty-four hours to recognize the complete truth in her statement. You see I plotted a story over a year ago about a single father who has, you guessed it, three little girls. One with special needs. Similar to our guests. It wasn't until I stopped and really paid attention to him interacting with his girls that I realized how true my friend's statement was. A thought ran through my head that he was trying to be mommy in daddy clothing (if that makes any sense at all) and I understood a bit more about the characterization of my hero.
Even though life has added a few bricks to my wall that I'm trying to hurdle, I know by the time I get over the top I'll have this fount of creativity gush forth. This little bump in the road has been a blessing and an inspiration. I can't wait to write his and the girls' happily ever after.
What a month! First let me start off by apologizing to my co-bloggers. Life has really gotten in the way. A few weeks ago I came down with a migraine that lasted a few days and then a sinus infection. My sinus infection cleared quickly enough but no sooner had it cleared than we had an unexpected house guest, and then three more were added to the loop. My household went from two adults, three teenagers and three dogs to three adults, three teenagers, three dogs, two toddlers and an infant.
My post will be a short one today. These weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest weeks for my employer. Today is the busiest day on the phones, and I have to work. Until Christmas I will be putting in up to six days a week, And I will have little time or energy to write. Yuck!
I know, I'm being a complainer, but every once in a while you need to complain about something. So today, what do you have to complain about? Come on, I'm sure there is something. And don't try to cheer me up because I'm sure it won't work. Not even a little. Okay, it might, just a little.
In recent months I began my blogging adventure. I’ll admit, at first I balked at the idea. What purpose could it serve? Would it help in my pursuit to publication? Why would I waste precious writing time on a blog?
Well, I found out none of these questions mattered to me. I fell in love with the world of social media and it’s given me more than I could have dreamed. BUT, there has to be balance. If you spend hours and hours on Twitter, Facebook, and a personal blog, than yes, it is a problem. To handle this I’ve set aside a designated amount of time daily to socialize and blog on the Internet.
Why? Because writing can be an isolating career. The social media world has provided me with the opportunity to meet so many amazing fellow writers. I’ve become part of their adventure as well as my own. The excitement I feel with each ‘first release’ post makes it well worth it. Our small network of writers, celebrate each other’s accomplishments and provide moral support when rejections come in.
Not only do I enjoy writing on my blog, but I love visiting others. There is a wealth of information with one click. For instance, I’ve been working on a new story and discovered one of my characters has an emotional issue. Well, I hopped on over to my friend, Laura Diamond’s blog for Mental Health Monday. I’ve been researching her posts for a psychological disorder that fits my character.
Sometimes I’m not looking for information, but entertainment, or my muse. Well, I’ll pop on over to Lynn Rush or Rachel Farisek for some moral support or rocking entertainment. Want to view a hunky hero? Visit Unearthly Musings for Fantasy Man Friday. I have a feeling its Danica’s most popular day on her blog. :) If I need some inspiration or a prayer request I’ll jump over to Belinda Peterson.
There are so many interactive experiences on author blogs. I recently hosted my first contest. When I mentioned it to a fellow writer in a chat room she said, “why’d you do that if you’re not published?” It was a blast, and I had help making up a tagline for my website. Sometimes, for me, it’s not all about publication, but the journey.
Some other blogs I subscribe to:
Kristal Lee Romances
Julia Rachel Barrett
There is such a world of information, companionship, and fun at your fingertips. How ‘bout you? Do you blog? If so, I’d love to visit, so leave your URL in the comments. Do you hold contests, or do you believe their a waste of time and resources if your unpublished? What’s your favorite blog to visit?
So, celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving has become one of our few traditions. We celebrate with family and friends and we remember the ones who are no longer with us. We watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We eat turkey and stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, green beans, corn on the cob, and dinner rolls. We watch football, take naps on the couch, and round out the afternoon with razzleberry pie and coffee. We reflect on the highs and lows of the past year and look forward to the possibilities of the next one.
Some of the things I'm thankful for this year:
*Good health for me and the family. Something that wasn't always so over the course of the year.
*A day job that pays the bills and affords me time to devote to writing.
*Family and friends who cheer me on when I haven't the strength or faith to keep going.
*Two fur-babies who are always happy to see me
*A WIP that I've finally managed to get to "The End"
I could list more, but the turkey needs to be dressed and the fixins' need fixing. So, whether your celebration is traditional or non-traditional, Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours.
She sees her cup as half empty. It's your fault.
The economy is faltering. It's your fault.
People are too damn happy. It's your fault.
Maxine is the ultimate curmudgeon.
People snicker and whisper behind their hands when they identify someone as a curmudgeon. They think it's a bad thing. A negative mindset. A sourpuss.
So this Thanksgiving, I will apply my most "curmudgeony" attitude to my blog. I'm peeling back my "nice" layers to tell you why I'm not thankful for anything. Not a damn thing.
1. I'm one week away from relocating to North Carolina. I just moved to Oklahoma from Texas, and only lived there two years after I moved from California. You don't even want to know how many times I relocated before that! The last time I had stability in my life was when I was 18 and still lived with my parents in the only home I'd ever known. It was boring. Real Ozzie and Harriet stuff. Pfffft!
Life's been quite a ride. I've had more adventures than Captain Jack Sparrow. I keep saying I'll write a book about them one of these days but people think I make this stuff up. Oh well, I put the "fun" in dysfunctional and I'm damn proud of it! Nothing to be thankful for…not a darn thing. Self made woman, here.
2. The verdict's in. I'm not going to reach my commitment goal for NaNoWriMo. It's not that I'm giving up - but fact is fact. I work full time, I'm packing for a move that I just found out about and have less than six days to complete, and I'm balancing book reviews, blogs, freelancing and parenting with trying to write fifty thousand words. What a ridiculous effort. Why in God's name did I sign up for this? Am I absolutely insane? There's not enough alcohol to keep my muse around (she's quite prolific with a little wine). But I sure as hell made some good friends through this crazy endeavor. Hope they realize how much I've graced their lives.
3. I'm on my third husband. I said I'd never get married again but lo and behold seven years ago this guy puts a ring on my finger and calls me Mrs. What the…? Good lord, I don't even remember how many times he test drove the marriage thing before he met me. And I haven't figured out why he stays with me or why I stay with him. I guess we're in love…or maybe we're just too old and tired and broke to do anything about it. We're joined at the hip so I know if I miss a step he'll be there to prop me up. Guess he's good for something. Of course, that works both ways. But this was not luck. Nothing to be thankful for… In fact, it kinda irritates me that I had to date so many trolls to find a good guy.
4. How many years have I been writing? I don't think I can count that high. I just want to know one thing…why am I not published??? Are the agents and editors blind? Can they not see how far I've come and how much I've learned? Good lord…I'm probably submitting to the grandchildren of the agents I submitted to thirty years ago! Of course, I DID have a twenty five year hiatus but still, that's no excuse. Throw me a bone…and I'll throw you back one hell of a revised manuscript.
5. Thanksgiving. Family. Friends. Turkeys…the kind you know and the kind you eat. Naps. Turkey. Naps so you don't have to listen to the turkeys. Turkey so you can chew and not answer the turkeys who you wish were napping.
Bah, humbug. Oh, yeah. That's another blog.
BICHOK…and be damn glad you have a chair to sit in and fingers to put on that frickin' keyboard!
I'm thankful I had the opportunity to remind you of it.
Deb, whose "nice" layers are now back in place.
We are at the start of Thanksgiving Week. By Friday we will be working off Thanksgiving dinner with a shopping workout. This time of year, we think about what we are thankful for. Everyone has something to be thankful for, although we don't always see it. I had one of those weeks last week. In an effort to avoid another week like that, I'm writing down a list of some of the things I do have to be thankful for.
1. Four healthy kids.
2. One healthy granddaughter.
3. A husband who loves to vacuum and do laundry.
4. The Christmas Shopping season last only four weeks.
5. The wonderful writers who I have met here at New Kids on the Writer's Block.
This is only a partial list, but I don't have time for more since I have to be to work at 7a.m. to take phone orders from all those early Christmas shoppers.
So, what are you thankful for during this Thanksgiving Week?
Reading the other blog entries this week, you probably have one question. Why would anyone want to put themselves through the cost, the hassle, and the stress of entering the Golden Heart Contest each year?
Some people don’t. Some feel their writing isn’t good enough yet. Some feel it’s just another contest win. Some people just aren’t turned on by the whole contest diva process. Some think it’s too expensive.
These are all valid reasons, for them. For me, I’m a jump into the pool – check for sharks later type of gal. (Or sea monsters...)
I can’t count the number of times ‘I said I’ll do that’ without thinking through the consequences. Hence, I’ll be leaving my warm office and my seriously behind word count NANO book to run my RWA chapter elections this morning. But before that happens, I’m here talking about why I’m working on getting my entry out the door before Thanksgiving so I don’t have to spend more money on overnight charges.
Heck, I want the ribbon at conference. I want to have my name, book title, and picture flashed up on the big screen. (Okay, maybe not the picture.) I want to be able to add Golden Heart finalist or even winner to my query letters.
Recognition is nice.
But that’s not the reason. I believe we are here to learn. (Not just here on NKOTWB – here in the world.) And I learn best by doing. If I don’t take the risk, I’m not learning. Entering the Golden Heart is one of the steps in my own how to write curriculum that I’ve been seriously studying from for the last three years. And the lessons are multiple. How to put together a contest entry. How to meet a deadline. How to write fifty pages that pull a reader into your story. And how to deal with disappointment and rejection or maybe even success.
Earlier this year I entered my cozy in a prestigious mystery contest. The mandatory entry form showed up in my mailbox the last day I could enter. I didn’t have my entry printed and I was thirty miles away at my job when my husband called to tell me the envelope had arrived. I finished my workday, printed that puppy, drove home, packaged the entry into a mailing envelope, and drove around until I found the one post office in my hometown that was open after five. On a Friday.
When I paid Mike the postage costs, I found out the ex-Marine, turned postal clerk, wrote historical fiction.
I joined an online group after the Golden Heart finalists were named last year. A historical romance writer from Florida who didn’t final started the group. We’re the Lalala sisters (or La to the power of 3). This group has kept me on focus, ran challenges, talked me off the ledge when I got back contest entries with comments that made me scream, and urged me to keep writing.
My last year has been focused on becoming a better writer. Entering the Golden Heart is one way to check my progress. That’s my path today. Who knows what risks and challenges tomorrow will bring?
I just hope my friends will keep me from jumping into shark-infested waters.
I talked about this just a bit when I wrote about why I do NaNoWriMo, but I SUCK at deadlines. Or rather, I'm awesome at deadlines, but I suck without them. So for an unpublished author, who doesn't have a publication deadline, I need every single ounce of deadline help I can get.
So for me, whenever I hear about a contest that has some prestige or a great editor/agent judge, I pay for my entry early. That way, I have a built-in deadline. I have to get my deadline set, or I won't meet it. It takes me a lot of hard work, but I have to do it this way. You'd think I was raised by journalists or something, but this is how I write. I'm very pressure-prompted.
The Golden Heart, for me, is less about the potential prestige and glory, and more about the finish line. I set it out there for myself, and then I have to meet it. After all, I've already spent $100 on it! Of course, I completely understand what both Kristal and Deb have been saying. But my chances of finaling or winning are so slim, it's pretty much not even on my radar.
Is there something in the back of my mind saying, you might final, you might win? Of course. I'd be nuts if there weren't. But by the same token, I've finaled in a big National writing contest before and then gone on to not even come close in many other contests. It's not about winning.
Of course, if they want to give me a prize, I'm not going to say no. But I don't actually think I'm going to win when I enter. I think my writing is plenty awesome, and I love my books. But judging is subjective. I've done it. In fact, I've gotten the same manuscript in two different contests, more than once, and given it different scores each time. Judging is subjective. If you're entering the Golden Heart because you think you're going to win... well, I don't know what to tell you, because I would never be able to do that.
On the other hand, I certainly don't want to enter with subpar work. But like I said, for me, it's not about winning. Heck, it's not even about the scores I'll get back. It's just about finishing. Plain and simple.
What about you? What is the Golden Heart about for you? How do you motivate yourself to write? To keep writing? To finish that manuscript?
~ Rebecca Lynn
|Kristal Lee and friends at the 2010 Golden Heart Awards|
Next year will not be that year. I'm not sure that any future year will be either. Now, I'm not dissing my work because I don't think it's good enough. Rather, I'm reassessing my dream. My real dream.
As it turns out, the Golden Heart isn't my dream. Publication is. That means my current and future efforts are focused on that single, simple goal.
I've never entered the Golden Heart contest, so I can't speak to its judging and selection process. I have, however, entered other contests and found the feedback confusing. What two judges raved about, a third judge hated. In my inexperience, I found myself always catering to the critic who tore everything apart because whatever issue they had, I wanted to fix. It took me a long time, and losing my voice, to realize the not all feedback is golden. Some of it is crap and should be flushed down the toilet, pronto!
My experiences with the contest circuit caused me to forget the only writer's rule that should never be broken: my story is my story and I'm the only one who can write it. My story is not in the heart of some nameless judge who may not have any expertise in the genre I write or who may have less experience in writing than I do. My story is in my heart, my soul, my imagination. It is mine and mine alone. I need to own it. From the first click of the keyboard tapping out, Chapter One, to the last words, The End. I must stay true to my creation, otherwise it's no longer mine.
My intent here is not to poo-poo contests, or tarnish the Golden Heart. All the finalists and winners are hard workers and deserve their moment in the spotlight. I begrudge them not in the least. And I will clap and whoop and holler with the best of them to show my support. They earned it. They deserved it.
For me, the stress of preparing for a contest and then waiting, waiting, waiting for the results takes away time from my heart's desire to see my work professionally published. Since my writing time is very limited, I must engage in those activities that have more of a potential of getting me closer to my dream. I need to finish my current WIP. I need to start planning the next one. I need to revise and edit the one that's been fermenting for a month or two. I need to query. I need to write that synopsis even though it gives me the willies.
I've gained an understanding that I'm not dedicated to the contest circuit like a bull rider is to the rodeo.The Golden Heart will probably never be my brass ring. But to those who are reaching for it, I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart and when you hear the shouts and cheers go out when you're name is called, know that I'm somewhere in the crowd hooting for you.
The road has been difficult, fraught with obstacles. I've been attacked by fiendish judges chortling, "You're not good enough, my pretty!" Our computer has crashed, taking my WIP with it. My writing time was shortened dramatically by the need to find full time employment.
Occasionally I was graced by a kind hearted agent or editor who touched my head with their glowing wand of encouragement.
My rag tag critique partners accompanied me on my journey. We were plagued by questions along the way. Did we have the courage to persevere in a sometimes harsh industry? Was our uncertainty a sign that our hearts weren't into the pursuit of a publishing contract? Could our brains be minus a few cells for even thinking we could write?
I travelled the Golden Heart road four times, certain with each attempt that I would final. For my fifty dollars, mailing expenses and weeks of polishing my submission, I received a single page with numbers. Numbers that mean absolutely nothing.
The RWR printed an excellent article last year detailing the complex judging process that determines who will final in GH and who will not. It was disheartening to say the least. Because of the way the judges scores are tallied, a writer with lower scores might actually final over someone with higher scores.
And then there is the matter of the judges themselves. Many are entrants who are not allowed to judge in their own categories. I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect someone who writes a Victorian era historical to pass judgment on a genre they don't read or write. I understand most writers read multiple genres these days. But it only takes one person to mark down your entry because they fail to understand a paranormal relationship might start off a little slower because of world building. After all, the "rules" say….
Don't get me started on that one.
Today is the deadline for Golden Heart's contest entry forms and fees. Participants still have until December 2 to get their works submitted to the RWA. Many may ask, what is the Golden Hearts Contest? It's the biggest, most prestigious contest for unpublished romance writers. The Romance Writers of America run this contests every year. Finalists are notified in March. Awards are then given out at the annual conference. It really is a big deal for unpublished romance writers to final and win. There are ten categories and ten winners. Hundreds of aspiring romance writers enter. However, this year I won't be one of them. I have nothing polished enough to enter. Maybe by next year, and maybe not.
I've heard some horror stories about contests and contest judges, so I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll enter any contests. But the recognition and prestige of being a Golden Hearts winner within the romance writing community might be enough to entice me in the future, but for now, I'm satisfied with polishing my work for submission to agents and editors.
So, who's entering Golden Hearts this year? And who isn't?
Welcome to our Sunday guest posts. In honor of our beginning week of posts on the Golden Heart and writing contests, I invited Kristin Wallace from my FHL chapter to come by and talk about her experience as a 2010 Golden Heart Finalist. We're so happy to have her, so please give a warm NKotWB to Kristin Wallace!
The GH process started with a missed call. I received a call at home about 10 minutes after I’d left for work that day. (I know this because the message was on my machine when I got home that night). So since they didn’t reach me, I got an email. The thing about the GH is that I ALWAYS forget what day the calls to finalists are going out. Last year was no exception. At some point I’ll usually see a posting on my one of my loops about it to remind me. Last year, I didn’t even get that. So around noon I get this cryptic email from someone I didn’t know that said only “RWA” in the subject line. The email asked me to call ASAP. I had no clue what it was. Absolutely none. I replied with a “I’m replying ASAP. Please let me know what this about’. Then I looked at the calendar and something clicked. My heart started racing. I didn’t want to believe it yet. It could have easily been something stupid. I called the phone number and sure enough, I was a finalist. From there my whole day was shot. Who could concentrate after that?
As wonderful as the Golden Heart experience was, my only thought was that I hoped I wouldn’t have to do it again,,,because I’m no longer eligible. It’s a nice honor and a lot of fun, but for me my goal is to sell a book. I haven’t managed it yet. I’ve been close. I’ve had books that I love (Wedding Planner is one) that have been rejected for sometimes valid, sometimes just plain stupid reasons. It’s close enough that I can taste it. I’ve imagined THAT call a thousand times.
Thanks so much for the insight, Kristin. And thanks for coming by the NKotWB blog to hang out with us. If any of the blog readers have questions for Kristin, please feel free to ask. She'll stop back and answer questions, and accept congratulations. She's still a reigning finalist, after all! :-) Our congrats to you, too, Kristin! We wish you a QUICK sale, soon!!
~ Rebecca Lynn
For about the last year, I have been a workshop slut. Well, a contest slut and a workshop slut. (We'll get to the contest part later...) But I've taken several very excellent workshops. Since we get to do a week where we talk about the awesomesauce of education, I wanted to take just a second to highlight my favorite workshops.
The best part about the whole workshop: Nicole North gives you personal critiques of your work, and she's very good at it.
Nicole is the author of erotic romance novellas, all with Scottish flare, and writes exquisite sexual tension herself. This is a fantastic workshop for any level writer in any heat level.
I'm not sure when Nicole is next-teaching this class, but if you go to the link above, you can get on her mailing list, or even take another class from her. She's a great teacher and critiquer.
Edit Your Novel in a Month (by Eliza Knight) - I took this class from Eliza when I really needed to get my book edited in a month. It is, of course, a month-long class, and you actually go through your novel during the class and do the work assigned to edit the work you've already done.
The tools she offers are, honestly, priceless. It's a set of tools that I still use to edit my work to this day. This is especially helpful if you've never been able to find a good fit critique group, or if you do a lot of write-at-once and then edit-at-once work.
Eliza is the author of several sensual romance novels (time travel and historical). My favorites are her "Captains" trilogy, which are from Regency-Era England. They're fantastic reads. It's like Jane Austen meets Jaci Burton. Love them.
This class will run in January and April at least of next year. You can also buy the packet yourself and do the work on your own for less than the cost of the workshop, and at any time. Use the link above. Eliza also teaches history classes that are amazing!! She's forgotten more about medieval history than I will EVER know, and probably more than any of us will ever know.
The Book Factory (by Kerri Nelson) - This was the most recent workshop I took, and therefore feels the most impactful, although all three of these have been really excellent. But each one of them happened at exactly the time I needed them, so they feel especially important. This one happens to have addressed the issue I was having at the time: TIME.
I cannot recommend this workshop enough for absolutely anyone who writes any length or genre of fiction. It's a universally applicable set of skills, and is (I think) absolutely necessary for all writers.
Kerri is the author of many, many, many books... and just as many different genres of books, as well. This is a link to my absolute favorite book of hers, which is a HOCKEY romance. Loved it. Anyway, if you know Kerri, you've likely wondered how she manages to get everything done. This is how.
She's teaching this class in January. Check the link above for her workshop schedule. She also teaches a pitch class that rocked my world. Got me a full request from Sourcebooks and about ten small presses. I still use her techniques to write my pitches and continue to get requests. As Deb Werksman would say, now for the execution...
Anyway, hope all this was helpful. These workshops helped me tremendously, and these women are really lovely people, great teachers, and fantastic writers, all. Happy Edu-ma-catin.
~ Camryn Rhys
Well, my pretties, this ends our Education Week. Stay tuned later today for the kick-off of our week on the Golden Heart and other writing contests. We'll have 2010 Golden Heart Finalist Kristen Wallace with us here in just a bit... stay tuned.
And don't forget to register those Golden Heart entries tomorrow! The hour draws nigh...
Just wanted to do a quick check-in to see how everyone's doing on their NaNoWriMo progress. Remember, we did all these great posts last week about NaNo? Well, we're all still writing, and I just wanted to see how everyone is doing.
On a side note, I picked up the book Deb recommended. The one by Chris Baty. I wish I'd read it before NaNo started. It would have been a fantastic preparation. But there are also great strategies for how to finish, and great ideas about how to budget your time, as well as why you should start your NaNo project new instead of writing on an old project.
Wish I'd thought of that before I decided to try to finish a project I was already writing on. Granted, it's been great to get so many words done on it. Still, it makes me wish I would have written one from scratch.
Anyway, just wanted to see how y'all are doing.
~ Camryn Rhys
Learning to write is a lot like learning a new language. You need to learn basic vocabulary and conversational verbiage to communicate with others. After that, you move into intermediate and advanced classes where you start to comprehend concepts and apply the knowledge you learned in the beginning classes. Eventually, you move into submersing yourself in the environment and taking classes that assume you have the basic knowledge behind you.
Well, here is my game plan for learning to speak romance genre fiction.
Four stages of classes from beginning to advance:
Are you a newbie writer? Never taken a writing class, but would love to learn how to write romance genre fiction?
First thing you should do is join a local chapter of a writing organization like Romance Writers of America. Also, attend a local workshop or conference. But wait, they are mumbling about so many terms that you don’t understand. No problem. Here are some resources to understand ‘conversational writing’.
For an explanation of Romance genres and business terms:
A Writer's Toolbox has a great post on basic writing terminology.
Go to my blog for a post utilizing 'Shazbot' to remember writing terms and concepts.
Also, some books have glossaries that explain writing terms. For a list of helpful craft books refer to Kristal Lee’s post.
Now, you understand the terms, but where to go from here? Well, how ‘bout trying an online class or local workshop. There are so many out there, so make sure you choose what is right for you.
Don’t understand Active vs. Passive or deep POV, try an online class at FF&P or Savvy Authors or another online group forum. Many of these classes are great for learning and practicing concepts in writing.
Also, pick up a craft book. Again, refer to Kristal Lee’s post for some great craft book recommendations. I have almost all of them in my arsenal.
Now you’re ready for some more challenging curriculum. In-depth educational opportunities are also offered at FF&P and Savvy Authors.
For a more complete list of classes there is a great list of advanced/masters at Writer University.
Also, look into local college continuing education classes. My only word of caution based on personal experience, is to make sure you sign up for genre specific classes. Taking a class on newspaper articles when you are interested in novel length fiction would not be the best use of your time.
Immersion and mentoring classes:
Margie Lawson offers many advanced and master level classes. I've not taken one, but many writers have raved about her classes.
Lorie Wilde offers a Book-in-a-year class and a Fast Track Book-in-Six-Months version.
These classes tend to be a little more pricey and intensive so I sent an email to
Ms. Wilde about her yearlong intensive course. This is what she said:
Mainly, it's a year long (or six months for the fast track), plus not only do we cover lesson, I hold your hand through the writing and revision process. I provide moral support, marketing news, guest lecturers and access to editors and agents for the students who complete the class with a completed novel.
Wow, now that sounds like an amazing experience!
Other resources that will help you along the way that are free. That’s right, FREE.
Need help with grammar you might want to look at Grammar Divas.
Dunes and Dreams RWA offers educational posts that can help with everyday writing.
New Kids on the Writer's Block is a great resource for newbie’s. The main focus of our website is to help new writers, so check back or follow the blog. There are always great tips and resources here. :)
Most of all, just keep writing. Never give up on your dream.
When I became a writer, I had never thought that I would be sitting at the computer taking online classes. It was supposed to be writing, getting published, and that was it. But, I have and I have enjoyed them very much.
The first class I took was instructed by Author, Kerri Nelson. In this class, she taught us how to juggle our lives and our careers. How to prioritize and stay focused. One of the things I liked the most was how she had us break our days down into 15 min. increments. Then we found those wholes and tried to readjust it. You would be amazed at how much you can get done in 15 min. And even if I only wrote for that short amount of time, the point is, I still wrote.
The second class I took was by instructor Sharon Gunn. Mrs. Gunn is fluent in Scottish Gaelic and has studied the history of Scotland. This class talked about everything from clothes to castles, and court. When a word was used, like clan, she would also give us the Gaelic term and show us how to pronounce it. This was a very thorough class. I thought I had known a few things about Scotland, but clearly I didn't. I am pleased to say that Mrs. Gunn will be teaching a class on Gaelic and I will keep you posted when that comes about.
I would highly recommend taking a class from wither one of these ladies.
Here are a few classes coming in 2011.
The lessons of Firefly: Learning from the works of Joss Whedon. Jan. 3-31, 2001.
This class will talk about character development, dialogue, and plotting techniques and the instructor is JACQUI JACOBY
Business on a shoestring: Dealing with the business part or writing. Feb. 1-28, 2011.
This class will talk to you about bylaws, taxes, using a pen name, and should you set up a corporation or an LLC. The instructor is DR. L. PEPPER NORRIS
Mind your MANerisms: How to make your heros behave like real men. Feb. 1-15, 2011.
This is a two week class where the instructors helps you make your character behave with real men mannerisms. The instructor is DR. STUART.
If you are interested in taking classes you may go to the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers web site at www.celtichearts.org for any upcoming classes. Members of CHRW receive two free classes a year. There will also be more information on the classes and bios of all the instructors. I also post classes on my blog, http://www.heart-of-romance.blogspot.com/, or you may email the CHRW Education Coordinator, Kerri Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday, Deb wrote about "Rules? Where we're going there are no rules!". And she goes on to explain that to break the rules, one must learn the rules.
Generally, our first exposure to "the rules" is grammar class. We learn vocabulary, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, etc, into ad nauseum. We learn how to write the proper way. This is good, for without the basics, there is nothing to weave your words into coherent sentences. The proper way can also be bad when it restricts creativity and stifles voice.
But, knowing good grammar is the cornerstone in becoming an excellent writer. Notice I typed "excellent writer." Anyone who has a basic concept of language can write. The skills you develop to become an "excellent writer" depends on the tools you have in your writer's toolbox.
Rules = Tools. (But they aren't always the sharpest tools in the toolbox. In fact, they can be quite dull.)
Consider adding online writing workshops, enrichment classes, college course classes, lectures, books, books, and more books to vary the tools in your toolbox.
[Beeeep~ This is a Writer's Public Service Announcement: Be mindful of the workshops and classes you choose. I took a class in college that was all about diagramming sentences. For me, diagramming sentences = writer's hell. Lesson learned? Know what you're taking before you sign up for it and investigate the instructor's credentials. Some have less experience writing than you do. Now, back to the regularly scheduled post about those workshops and classes and books that are essential to your toolbox.]
In our busy lives, it's unrealistic to attempt to attend workshops and classes that aren't in our generally vicinity. Thank god for the internet. Many RWA chapters host monthly writing workshops via Yahoo and Google loops. Other online classes are independent of RWA affiliations, such as Margie Lawson's workshops. Margie is uber psychologist by day and super uber writing guru by night. At least in my estimations. I've learned so much from her intensive online classes because she gets into the psychology of writing. Her classes include Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors, Empowering Character Emotions, Deep Editing, Writing Body Language, and Digging Deep into the EDITS System. I love her workshops because she not only shows you the tools, she teaches you how to use them.
If online classes don't work for you, and even if they do, I also recommend that you attend your local RWA chapter meetings. Oftentimes they will host guest lecturers on the craft of writing. And, if you can, attend the RWA National Conference. They have beaucoup workshops on writing. If you can't make it to the annual wingding, don't worry. The workshops are recorded on CD's and available for purchase. Check out the RWA website for details. You can also ask your local RWA chapter if they purchased a set for their members to peruse.
On to books, books, and more books. Another key to unlocking the secrets to becoming an excellent writer is to read, read, read. My to be read pile is at least 75 books high and growing. I aim to read 2-3 books a week. I don't always hit that goal, but I try. Some books I'm reading are for reviews at The Season or my own blog It's KRISTAL kLEEr. Others are craft books or books I'm reading for personal interests.
Whether I'm reading for enjoyment, enrichment, or education I always have an agenda. I'm studying voice. I'm studying POV switches. I'm studying what holds my attention and what parts having me skimming. I dissect the plot. I take copius notes about what I like and what I don't and why. I meditate upon what I'm reading, not the story but how it's written. I keep my favorites close by. I do the same with the ones I dislike. I am a student of the craft. You should be too. Read the genre you write. Study your competition. Read outside your genre. You may discover a hidden gem.
To become an excellent writer, you must, you must, you must read and study your craft. Here are a few books I believe that every writer should own. My list is by no means exhaustive, but it can be a starting point if you haven't begun stocking your toolbox.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, should own a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. If you don't, your writing skills are greatly disadvantaged. Originally published around 1935, this master tool is a timeless and a priceless resource for all writers.
Number two on my list is GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon. She delves into the critical elements of creating a plot by ferreting out what it is that your characters want or need and the obstacles hindering them from obtaining their goal. Plot is essential. Without a plot, all you have is a random series of events that no one cares two hoots to holler about. Again, I say, this book is a must for every fiction writer.
Another treasure for the chest is Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. For those who may not have heard of Mr. Maass, he is a highly-sought after literary agent and author in his own right. Writers, pay close attention to him. He not only knows how to write, but how to write what sells.
Also worth mentioning is Brandilyn Collins' Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors. She demonstrates how to use Method-acting techniques to deepen characters' emotional and behavioral presence on the page.
Though my list goes on and on, I must make mention of the RWR (Romance Writer's Report). This is a free publication available to all RWA members. Inside each issue are numerous articles on the craft of writing. I've read and kept each issue I've received since becoming a member. If you aren't a member of RWA: Romance Writers of America, I seriously encourage that you become one. Their goal is to educate writers on how to become excellent writers.
There's an old adage that "Practice Makes Perfect," but that is misleading. Only perfect practice leads to perfection. Okay, so we all know that perfection is a myth, but what we can relate to is that excellent practice leads to excellent performance. Learn from those who've gone before you. Fill your writer's toolbox and practice, practice, practice. Once you master a tool, experiment and create your own method of utilizing that tool outside the norm.
I've given you a glimpse into my writer's toolbox, tell me, what's in yours?
I'd always been a bit of a rebel, so "no rules" had a delightful ring to it. No rules. Love it! Live it!
Except when it comes to my writing.
I was like many budding novelists - weighted down with rules. Things I should do. Things I didn't do. "They" became an invisible task master who I despised even as I fought to adhere to "their" ever changing guidelines of what was acceptable. "They" must have been on the judging panel of every contest I ever entered because the rules were redlined and quoted back to me like lessons from an irritable schoolmarm. I fully expected someone to sneak into my office at night and rap my knuckles with a wooden ruler.
Needless to say, I became confused, mired in a perpetual state of editing and revisions as I attempted to apply the irrefutable laws. That is until I took an incredibly liberating and fascinating class by Allison Brennan.
Break the rules, she encouraged. I sat up straight in my chair. Did I imagine it? Did Allison actually say "break some rules"? She did. And from that moment until the end of her online class, she had my complete attention along with my undying devotion.
It helped that Allison was totally approachable. She taught in a conversational style, without the stilted, weary language that leaves one rolling their eyes upward and wishing they had spent their $30 on a good bottle of wine. She offered advice, real life experiences, and wisely taught us how to "break some rules".
I walked away from that class with a new outlook.
You can write whatever and however you want. The key is to write it well.
You can break rules (except perhaps in a contest where rules are more important than content). The trick is to KNOW the rules before you break them. It's like an old saying I love to quote…"It doesn't matter how fast you run if you don't know where you're going." There are no shortcuts to learning how to craft a novel. But once you learn how to do it right, you can have some fun doing it "wrong".
Think of the published writers who have broken rules. Nora Roberts is usually the first author people quote. I've heard comments like, "She would never get published today!" Or, "She doesn't write like she did when she was first published."
None of us write like we did one, three or five years ago. We evolve. We change. So do published authors. Nora has a huge fan base and she doesn't keep them scrambling to grab up her latest book by writing crap. The lovely Ms. Roberts is laughing at her detractors all the way to the bank.
So know your craft. Learn how to use POV, show vs. tell, pacing, GMC. Search and delete those "ly" words and passive verbs. Write. Write. Write. Get better with each attempt.
And then…go break some rules!
Learn more about Allison Brennan at http://www.allisonbrennan.com/ .
Last week I did mention Write or Die. It's a must have for any die hard NaNoer.
Have you ever had that perfect word just right there and it slipped from you mind? Well here is a site recommended by a friend of mind called Tip of My Tongue.
As I said, I'm not really into web writing tools, I'm more old-school. I'd rather have an old-fashioned brainstorming session with my writing friends than use Plot Ninjas or a computer program. Nothing beats a spiral notebook and a pencil, or a stack of index cards for plotting ideas, but for those of you who like to have it all put together in one place in a spreadsheet you should really check out Myra Johnson's writing helps.
Are you kickin' it old school, or are you up with the times? What are your favorite tools?
This week the focus of the New Kids on the Writer's Block Blog is education, workshops and tools we have found helpful with our writing. For me, there have been countless, books, workshops, and software tools. I think I am addicted. If I just buy this one more book, take this workshop, use this cool software, then I'll be able to write a great story. I usually pick up a nugget of wisdom or two from each of these tools, but there is one I use consistently. A workshop I attended 14 years ago.
The workshop was entitled A Novel Approach taught by Kathy Jacobson. Kathy had just gone through a divorce, and she had moved to Madison to be with her daughter, for a while. To my benefit she decided to teach her workshop through the UW Continuing Education program. For several Saturdays in a row, the class met in a old building on the lake shore of Lake Mendota. During the week we worked on our assignments.
Kathy had a whole system for writing your novel. In the workshop she discussed character motivations, Story Spicers, the MICE quotient, Universal Questions, and conflict. Along with each of these ideas, Kathy gave us worksheets to organize our information on. These worksheets are still part of my writing routine. For each manuscript I put together a writer's notebook, and Kathy's worksheets, or my own version of them, is included in every notebook. These notebook helps me gather my thoughts for the start of my writing journey. It includes a Cast of Characters, a Characterization Worksheet for each of the major characters, and less detailed worksheet for minor characters. I use Kathy's Plotting Board, and try to use her Conflict Grid, but I have more success with the Plotting Board than the Conflict Grid.
I still have my original notes and Kathy's original worksheets in a folder where I can reference them easily. And the story idea I worked on during Kathy's workshop is now a 100,000 word manuscript waiting for revisions.
Kathy Jacobson is now a life coach, and she still teaches the workshop, although now she offers it as a teleclass through her website. If you are interested in finding out more about Kathy, and her A Novel Approach workshop, you can go to her website: www.kathyjacobson.com
So, as I said in my last post, last weekend I attended the Jane Austen Society AGM in Portland. The theme of the conference was: “Jane Austen and the Abbey: Mystery, Mayhem and Muslin in Portland.” It was my first time at a conference with such a literary bent, and while I enjoyed most of the workshops immensely, I did, at one point, have to wonder how much one could say about one book. I mean, I've always liked Northanger Abbey, but it is one of Austen's least popular novels. (It was also, sadly, the first Austen book my boyfriend ever read, and now he refuses to read another--he is sweet enough to watch the movies with me, though, so perhaps he's not lost cause ;)) Author Stephanie Barron, who writes mysteries with Jane Austen as the detective, was the keynote speaker, and she broke down the novel into it's mystery elements. I found this surprisingly helpful for my own novel because in Northanger, Catherine Morland acts as a novice detective and the heroine of my novel does the same. Her presentation helped me see how I had laid out the mystery in my own novel and see what I had done right and wrong. The other workshop I quite enjoyed was about the details of the assembly rooms at Bath and in other cities across England. The presenter gave us all the gritty details about how you usually had to be a paid subscriber to get into the balls and parties or how you had to obtain tickets from a subscriber who wouldn't be attending. She also gave us some interesting tidbits about dancing and dance etiquette.
Another fun element of the conference was a room that they called Milsom Street, where vendors selling everything from Austen-inspired books and china to antique lace, cameos, and costumes set up shop. They also had these authentic dresses on display.Here's a close up of the pink afternoon dress:
The most fun part of the AGM was the ball on Saturday night. If you ever want to get the feel of what a real Regency ball would have been like, I would definitely recommend going as someone's guest to one of the JASNA balls. The dancing went on for hours and for most dances, there were at least two to three lines of couples dancing English country dances. They have a rule that you can only dance with each person once, so everyone gets the chance to dance if they want to. Here's me in my ballgown (it looks a bit lopsided in this picture, unfortunately.)
HELLO, ALL, AND WELCOME TO NKotWB's WRITING TOOLS WEEK!
This week, we're going to be talking about our favorite workshops, conferences, classes, tools, and advice to support our careers in writing. To kick us off, this morning, we'll have a guest blogger. And this afternoon, Jennieke Cohen will kick off the NKotWB posts. You'll be able to find the whole series on the page to your right when it's done.
A friend and fellow writer (who happens to have written one of my favorite books of all time) agreed to come by NKotWB this week and talk about what makes a book sell. Before we get to her blog, I want to tell you that I have read Her Reluctant Bodyguard and recommended it to everyone I know. And I read her book before I got to know her as a person, so my like of the book is completely unbiased (haha!). But please welcome a fantastic person, and a great writer: Jennette Green.
Unfortunately, since then, I’ve learned that getting the book published is only half of the battle. Convincing readers to actually buy that book is another matter entirely. And that brings me to the flip side of being a published author… Marketing.
Let me honestly say that I hate marketing. I am not a saleswoman. I would much rather hide out in my writing cave and write the very best stories I can. Before becoming a published author, I never gave much thought to how my future readers would find my book. And I certainly never thought about how I would convince those same readers to actually buy my book! I am no expert on the subject of marketing, by any means, but let me share a little of what I’ve learned over the last several years.
First of all, marketing is doable. Readers want to find good books and read them. They even want to buy them! Your job is to use every tool at your disposal to convince readers that your book is the best book they can buy. Of course, it might help if it actually is the best book they can buy. Write a fantastic book!
Two years ago, I did a marketing survey and asked readers for the top reasons why they decide to buy a book. The results were interesting, and I’ll share how you can use this information to dramatically increase your book’s sales.
Covers are the number one reason why readers will pick up a book. A cover must catch a reader’s attention, so they’ll want to pick up the book. A good cover is vital. This is true for books that make it to a bookstore’s shelves, and it is even more important if the book is sold online.
Unfortunately, books sold online face a unique challenge. Most of these book covers are displayed in the size of a postage stamp. Just look at Amazon’s search page, for example. Your tiny cover must grab the reader’s interest at once—so much so that she’ll want to click on it. How do you accomplish this? If you have any say at all in your cover design, ask that one feature display prominently on the cover. I ask for a face. People are drawn to faces. On the other hand, a jumble of smaller images are difficult to see, and they probably will not catch a reader’s eye.
Here is another interesting fact: Although covers are the number one reason why a reader will pick up a book, no purchases are made based on the cover alone.
32% of Readers polled indicated:
Blurbs are the number one reason why someone will decide to buy your book.
Blurbs are crucial, and I can’t stress this enough. Just to be clear, a blurb is the short, back cover (or inside flap) teaser about your book. The blurb much catch the reader’s imagination, and it must promise excitement and an intriguing, fantastic story. Wait, you say. Don’t publishing houses write the blurb? Not necessarily. While some publishers may write the blurb, most welcome the input of authors. Authors, this is your chance to shine! It is your opportunity to sell the very best points of your book to readers. Writing blurbs can be challenging. Here are links to several excellent blurb writing articles, which will get you started in the right direction:
Writing a Short Book Blurb
How to Write a Blurb
Writing Great Blurbs
26% of Readers polled indicated:
A recommendation from a friend is the second most important reason why someone will buy your book.
This is common sense. If my trusted friend raves about a book, I will definitely make an effort to find it and learn more about it. If it is in a genre I love, then I will definitely buy it. As authors, we must write excellent books. Then friends will want to tell their friends all about your book…and this will lead to more sales.
20% of Readers polled indicated:
Readers make purchase decisions based on the first few pages of the book.
If the book grabs a reader’s attention in the first paragraph (so she just has to know what happens next) she will buy the book. It is that simple. I buy books all the time based solely on the first page of the book. I figure if the author can grab my attention on the first page, she must know what she is doing. I trust that the rest of the book will be equally engaging. Authors can post the first few pages of their book on their website, or even upload them as jpg customer cover images on Amazon. These individual pages will be noted below your book cover image on your Amazon product page.
14% of Readers polled indicated:
Excerpts are an important sales tool.
Readers like to read excerpts. However, I should note that a few poll responders indicated they do not make purchase decisions based on excerpts alone. An excerpt can be pulled from anywhere in the book, and some readers don’t like being thrust into the middle of the action, without a clue to the context of what is happening at that point in the book. In addition, one good excerpt from the book does not mean the rest of the book will be equally good. Readers like to be able to flip through the book or sample a few pages in order to determine if the book is worthy of purchase.
8% of Readers polled indicated:
Reviews are a reason why readers will purchase a book.
I was very surprised to learn that reviews are the least effective method of convincing a reader to purchase a book. I read reviews all the time, and in fact post the best romance novels I can find (based on reviews alone) on one of my websites. Honestly, I think readers take reviews with a grain of salt. Just because one person liked the book doesn’t mean that everyone else will feel the same way. However, it is also true that excellent reviews can only help your book. And great reviews from a respected review site, in addition to excellent reviews on Amazon, can help your book achieve even better sales, thanks to Amazon’s search engine marketing machine. Books I have read indicate that good reviews and good sales on Amazon lead to even better sales on Amazon. This has proven true for my first book, The Commander’s Desire.
In summary, you can take simple steps to make sure your book makes the best possible first impression on a reader. With a great cover, blurb, great writing quality, and excellent reviews, your novel will be primed for a reader to say, “This sounds like a great book! I think I’ll give it a try…”
Her Reluctant Bodyguard
The Commander’s Desire
** This is an amazing opinion post by Harrison Solow about why not everyone should "just follow their dream". I admit to being skeptical at first, but in light of NaNo (and realizing how a great many of the novels written this month will never see the light of day), it just got me thinking. Anyway, check it out. Let me know what you think.
** Another great opinion blog. This one, from the LA Times, and specific to NaNoWriMo. Definitely worth reading.
**KT Literary Agent Daphne wrote a great post about her own accountability challenge for November. I thought this was a great way to show solidarity with NaNoWriMo, and also to give some really excellent advice to all of us writers.
** For any of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo and feel like you've hit a wall, check this out. It's a great post from Scribendi about how to plan to finish.
** This isn't specific to NaNo, but this is a great post from Erin MacPherson about how to write under a super-tight deadline (for which, I think, NaNo counts). Anyway, great advice. Check it out.
** Um, HOLY CRAP! Nathan Bransford is quitting??? Like... yesterday. Seriously, in the world of social media about writing, he will be missed. I have no idea what he was like as an agent, but I assume he was good, because the dude was a maevon of the publishing world.
** Sorry, back to NaNo. Here's a post that includes a great video. From Musetracks, I think it was Jenn Bray Webber (fellow Celtic Heart member) who posted this one. Anyway, check it out.
** Here's one that closely mirrors where I was when I started NaNo. Plus, I just love Jeannie Moon's voice, and I enjoy reading her blog. So check her out.
** And because I always have a history post, I'm going to link to Deb's post on the beginnings of NaNo. And then I'll list the rest of the NKotWB posts, in case you don't want to scroll down. :-)
New Kids NaNo Series:
Julie's Kick-Off (On Your Marks, Get Set, Go)
Renee's Tips (Well, How's It Going?)
Deb's History Post (NaNo, NaNo)
Kristal's Preparations (Somewhere In the World A Writer is Writing)
Camryn's Defense of Word Counts (Why with the Word Count?)
Mia's Confession (This Time's Different)
Hope you enjoy your NaNoWriMo experience.
(And in the Shameless Commerce Division today, I'm including a reminder to sign up for my food writing and romance workshop that's starting tomorrow!)
~ Rebecca Lynn
I’ve been a participant in NaNoWriMo since 2003. And never won. Heck, I’ve never even pushed past the dreaded fourth chapter. You don’t want to know how many partial manuscripts I have stored away on my hard drive just waiting for the characters to climb back to the front of my mind and clamor to start telling their story again.
There, I’ve admitted my shameful secret. I’m a pantser. I try to plot, really. I even sat down with a goal/motivation/conflict worksheet for my cowboy secret baby fish farm story I’m writing for NANO. But I kept getting lost in the story. What about the scene where they’re at the Pancake House eating huckleberry pancakes with syrup? What about the parade scene with all the horses and the hero saves the little boy? Will he realized he’s his son then? Or will the thought just nag at him?
See, I’m doing it now.
I’m in awe of the writers who have a road map. A beginning, middle, and an end. I only know who the characters are, usually their names, and where I want them to end up. And most of the time, the ending changes before I get there. Because when events happen, just like in real life, it changes my characters lives. And try as I might, I can’t write an ending that the gang (the characters) doesn’t believe in.
I was driving into work yesterday after having my morning writing session and realized, if the hero can figure out she’s not dating by her interaction with the town folk, how can she hide her five-year-old son? So now, she’s realized that fact too. And we’re scrambling to hide little JR.
I love my characters. But I just wish they’d tell me these things up front.
NANO progress? 6623 words. My goal this week was 12000 words. And you know, I might just make it. But I’m not looking past this week. Not yet.
My NANO plan? Write in the morning before work. Write at lunch. Write in the evening to get to your goal words for the day. Rinse, repeat, the next day. On the weekend, I’ll just plow through until I meet my word count goal. Not a very detailed plan I know, but it’s working for me. This week.
And I’m going to hit a local write in on Sunday afternoon and test the waters. I’ll let you know how it goes?
* * *
Oh, I almost forgot, I said I’d explain why my NANO name is Mia rather than Lynn. One, I think the name Mia is pretty. I did in 2003 and I do now. Lynn’s not as pretty of a name, but I’m growing into it. (The first eighteen years of my life, I went by another name. Longer story.)
I was playing darts at the time and our team leader was a Star Wars freak. Everyone had character nicknames.
I was and still am, “Princess All About Mia,” as a tribute to Toby Keith.
So, is anyone else attending write-ins? How are they going for you?
This author posted a blog rant about #1k1hr and why in the world people would want to try to "race" through 1000 words of a manuscript, and/or try to get to 1 hour. If you're not familiar with the #1k1hr concept, you can read Patrick's explanation, or I can explain it quickly. It's essentially a way to get writers writing. You sit down and write (as Deb and others say, BICHOK) for at least an hour. Your goal is to write at least 1000 words. You stay BICHOK (butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard) until you get both 1000 words and 1 hour of writing under your belt.
The author who ranted against this saw our reporting (someone would say "I got 1583 in #1k1hr" and someone else might say "I only got 681 in #1k1hr" and the rest of us would say "keep going! you can do it!"), and I think she got the wrong idea. It's not a race against other people. It's a race against yourself.
It's also a race against your inner critic. Some of the best advice I ever got was to stop editing. No, really. Just stop editing. Seriously. Stop editing and just write.
I get the same sort of "why with the word count" vibe from critics of NaNoWriMo. The attitude of "why write 50K of crap". These types of posts come, not from people who don't have the time to write 50K in one month (which I think is a completely valid reason not to participate), but from people who think that every word you put on the page has to be a pristine and loverly sentence of golden beauty from which you could, essentially, make millions.
Well, for most of us (research would say, a significant amount of us writers), the problem isn't that we can't write, it's that we don't write. So if I write 50K of crap this month, I can edit it into that money-maker later. But for a lot of us who are pressure-prompted and/or deadline-oriented, we need the outside accountability.
And this is why I say that NaNoWriMo is awesomesauce. And anyone who doesn't think so, feel free to bite your thumb at me. Or blog rant. Or whatever. I can handle it--because I'm pressure-prompted. It only makes me better. Haters.
Most of you probably agree with this, which is why you're on this blog and/or reading about NaNoWriMo and/or friends with me. In which case, all of this ranting of my own is probably wasted. So I say to you, good luck in your word count. Because as Nora Roberts said, "You can't edit a blank page."
~ Camryn Rhys
- ► 2012 (84)
- ► 2011 (222)
- No Time to Write
- To blog…or not to blog. That is the question.
- Happy Thanksgiving!
- Thanksgiving Traditions
- The Curmudgeon's Guide to Being Thankful...
- Happy Thanksgiving!
- Golden Heart… Confessions of a New Kid
- A Golden Finish Line
- I Dream of a Golden Heart...or Do I?
- All That Glitters Is Not Golden Heart
- Golden Hearts Contest
- Guest Author: Kristin Wallace's Golden Heart Glow
- The Best Workshop I Ever Took
- NaNoWriMo Check In
- Four Levels of classes
- Never too young to learn
- Writers Toolbox
- Rules? Where we're going there are no rules!
- Kickin' It Old School
- Education, Workshops and Tools! Oh My!
- The Jane Austen Society National Conference 2010 (...
- Guest Author: Jennette Green & EDWeek Kick-Off
- Sunday Shout-Outs (NaNo Style)
- This time's different...
- Why With the Word Count?
- Somewhere in the World A Writer is Writing...
- NaNo, NaNo...
- Well, How Is It Going?
- On your marks, Get Set, Go!!!
- ▼ Nov (30)
Monday: Food of the Week
Tuesday: Favorite Recipes I
Tuesday: Favorite Recipes II
Wednesday: Foxy Foodies
Thursday: Best Foodie Books
Thursday: Writing Prompt
Friday: Food Network Shows
Friday: Food Shows on TV
Saturday: Foodie Romances
Saturday: Foodie Blogs