• Write & Wrong

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 8, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    So this month is National Novel Writing Month  in which I am not participating. Saturday was the Ozarks Romance Writers’ meeting and several of those members were participating, so I had some writing envy. I decided I needed to love the one I’m with and work on my own already in progress novel.

    I have waffled between rewriting it from third person or sticking with the first person point of view. Why I didn’t just do that from the beginning I can not explain. Honestly, I didn’t think it would really matter what point of view I used. I’ve read plenty of paranormal romances from both viewpoints.

    Harlequin is probably the most new writer friendly publisher. Probably because they publish so many romances each much. Lots of awesome writers have cut their teeth in serial romance. In fact, so writer and submission friendly is Harlequin that they are having a free online conference all this week specifically on the how to’s of writing romance. You can check it out at So You Think You Can Write if you are interested.

    Last night I was trying to check out all of the events and podcasts from the first day and the main editor that accepts submissions for Harlequin Nocturne (the paranormal romance editor) had a podcast. She seemed great and gave good advice but also dropped a couple of bombshells. First, the word count for Harlequin Nocturne just got raised from 70,000 to 80-85,000. Yeah, I have 51,858 now. I’ve got some work to do.

    Secondly, at the very end of the podcast she just happened to mention that submissions needed to be in third person point of view. Nowhere on the submission guidelines did it say that. Maybe it was supposed to assumed. Maybe I just didn’t know what I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Now I know.

    So my dilemma has been resolved for me. I have to rewrite it.

    I guess the hardest part is committing to a course of action. Once there’s a solid and clear plan, it’s usually easier to proceed, right? It’s good to have a plan.

    So after all that waffling and hoping to take the easy way out, now I know, as with most of the things in life, there is no easy way out.

    Bryon’s pretty sure I’m windy enough to make it all work out. He’s probably right. I just need someone to offer up their lake home to me for a long weekend so I can work on it without distraction. Either that or I’m going to have to check myself into a hotel.

    Either way … I got this.

  • The Write Stuff

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 1, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    This is my novel manuscript so far. Today at lunch I sat down to start to rewrite it from the third person perspective. I didn’t even make it through the first two pages and decided that was just nuts. I like it like it is. I like my character’s first person voice. I’m not rewriting it.

    Tonight I started editing it instead. Like riding a bicycle, marking with a red pen came right back to my inner English teacher self. It’s been a month since I really worked on it so now it’s like reading someone ELSE’s writing, which is pretty cool.

    That was one of Stephen King’s suggestions in On Writing. Let it sit, then read through as much as you can of your work in one sitting and with that distance from it, it will be like reading someone else’s work. He is totally right. Well of course he is, he’s Stephen King, duh.

    It’s easier to be critical of someone else’s work and let the red ink flow. Sort of like grading one giant paper. But a lot more fun. With no pesky teenagers to interfere.

    At the last ORA (Ozarks Romance Authors) meeting a published author showed us her editor’s change requests letters for two of her novels. One had only about twenty changes. The other had over a hundred and twenty. I decided to try that with my own novel so I’m making notes with page numbers and notations in a spiral notebook as I go so I can go back and fix/add in the big stuff when I get through the whole manuscript.

    Then when I have it as good as I can get it, I’ll let a couple of people read it. Probably my two paranormal romance loving friends Dawn and Carla. After that, if I have the 75,000 words I need, I’ll pitch it to Harlequin. I know, I know Harlequin sounds cheesy but if you haven’t read a Harlequin romance lately, you don’t know what you are missing.

    Mine won’t have a secret baby, or a Sheik so no worries there.

    They have a line called Nocturne specifically for paranormal romance and they have some very noteworthy and respected authors. Seriously, you should check it out. It’s not your mother’s serial romance anymore.

    I still think I can make it into a series if I can get away with doing the next book from one of the OTHER character’s perspective, first person or third, I still haven’t decided.That may be a big writing no no but I’ve made this bed and now I’m going to lie in it.

    Speaking of bed … time for some zzzzzzzzzzzzs.

  • Storytelling

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Oct. 29, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    I am not a good oral storyteller. I am a much better written storyteller. Relating a story to someone orally is a lot more difficult than writing it down for me. Bryon is a much better oral storyteller. He can take the slightest event and turn it into a twenty minute detailed narrative. He’s especially good at relaying hunting stories.

    He would have been an extremely valuable member of society back in the days before writing when oral tradition was the only way histories, laws, folk tales and literature were relayed. Think The Illiad or The Odyssey but much shorter. He’s such a Homer.

    He can spin a yarn or tell a story in a way that’s both engrossing and interesting. Of course, sometimes he uses his power for evil and not good and tricks me with elaborate fairy tales and when I finally ask, “Really??? You’re kidding!”

    He says, “Yeah, I’m kidding.”Aaaarrrrrgggg!

    He used to get me all the time that way.

    I’m still not immune to his ruses but I do still like to hear his stories. He fishes me in every time. And trust me, in the past 25 years, he’s had a LOT of stories.

    I’m a much better written storyteller. I have to see the words appear before me and then rearrange them like puzzle pieces until they are just right. When I TELL a story, I don’t have that luxury and under pressure, the story loses it’s cohesion and impact. Sometimes I hear myself talking when I’m trying to tell a story and think, what the hell am I even saying? This story makes no sense.

    It makes perfect sense in my brain. Somehow it between my brain and my mouth it loses it’s potency.

    The great thing about writing is that until the very last minute you can edit it, rearrange it and dress it up in different clothes until it’s just right. Then, if you still aren’t happy with it, there’s always the rewrite.

    I haven’t worked on my novel much this past few weeks because I know that is what the next step is: the rewrite. I have ideas for at least two more books so I can make it a trilogy. Trilogies are very hot right now. But I can’t do that in the first person, which is the point of view I’ve used for the first 50,000 words.

    The good news is that when I do finally sit down to rewrite, it should blow up as I am able to expand the vision of the characters and flesh them out more making it pretty easy to reach my 75,000 word target. The bad news is that it’s going to take some extensive time and uninterrupted concentration to do it.

    I had really considered trying to participate in NaNoWriMo in November where you write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days but I think I will be better served to concentrate on working on the one I already have in progress than starting another one. So I’m punting NaNoWriMo and hope to work on the rewrite instead.

    Maybe if I can spend the next 30 days working on the rewrite, I’ll have a brand spanking baby New Year book by 2012.

    Write on.

  • A Novel Effort

    Last summer I got hit with a hankering to write a novel. I have read more than a hundred paranormal romance novels in the past two years and each time I have thought, “I can do this!” So I finally decided to put my money where my mouth was and give it a try.

    As a former English teacher and a graduate of a very respectable state university with a BS in English Education, I figured, why not? This does not, however, mean that I have perfect grammar or always use the correct word. It means I have some good ideas and I need an editor … and spell check.

    I first tried to write a novel several years ago when I had what I thought was a great premise after my husband and I cleaned out his grandmother’s incredibly disgusting and packed apartment and moved her into a care facility. We found a lot of crazy and interesting items and papers during our efforts which led to all sorts of questions and potentially mind blowing secrets.

    When I got home, I started the novel. I made it about 24 pages and lost steam. I was approximately 276 pages short of a novel. I binder clipped the pages together along with my internet “research” and stuck it all into a folder, likely never to be seen or worked on again. It was dead to me.

    Writing a novel is something I think lots of people secretly aspire to achieve. Being a published author would be even better. I think people assume every published author has basically hit the J.K. Rowlings lottery jackpot or can at least quit their day job.

    I have been researching this assumption and it turns out it’s not exactly the case. Sure some authors hit the trifecta of published book, best seller, movie deal but most don’t. Some self-publish their literary children and others quietly stuff them into a drawer or the back of their closet under some mothballed sweaters.

    It’s not easy but it is exciting to consider the possibilities.

    It all starts with page one and ends 300 some pages later. Even if it’s a stinker, at least it’s an accomplishment that has a tangible result; a huge pile of paper with words you typed from your very own brain. No one else can do THAT for you.

    Then if you actually finish the damn thing and want to try to publish it, there are a whole new host of obstacles to overcome. Of course, if you never finish, you’ll never have to worry about any of that.

    As of today I’m on page 115 of my third novel attempt. I think this one might actually go the distance. It’s exhausting and exciting all at the same time. It’s also pretty all consuming. I’ve been working on it since August 5th of this month. I write in long hand at lunch time while I snarf down my Subway Buffalo Chicken sandwich in one of the five counties I cover for work. Later I slink off to my upstairs office until midnight most nights typing up and amending my copy from the day.

    When I finally make it to bed, I can’t fall asleep because things keep happening to my story in my head and those characters just won’t shut up. My brain keeps writing the next scene and finally I have to turn the light back on and write down some notes or it will be lost forever. That’s a good problem to have. I’m not complaining about that.

    Well, I’m off to write.

    Page 116, here I come.