Friday, May 28, 2010

Goal Bandwagon

Jumping on the bandwagon and I'm going to post my goals for June, well, my writing goals.  Thanks Ashy and Mire for the post idea by posting your own. And those that haven't: You should check out their blogs.
World of My Own
Where Plot Bunnies Roam

June Writing Goals

25k on YA mutant novel rewrite
2-3 chapters of urban fantasy / paranormal romance
Take part in 15 in 15 contest on WDC. Write for 15 minutes every day for 15 days based on prompts.

That is all.

What are your goals for June?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prolific and Lame

Yep. I'm both Prolific and Lame. Okay, Mia is the one that gave me the Prolific Blogger Award (*hugs Mia* I've been seeing that one but didn't know if I'd be blessed with such). Go check out her blog if you haven't already, there is toast involved and toast is awesomesauce in bread form. Literary Jam and Toast

Prolific Bloggers of Awesomeness that I pass this award on to (think this is how the award works):

Harley at Labotomy of a Writer because with a blog title like that, how could she not be prolific? ;-) That and she's just plain awesome with many great blog posts. Her characters are fun too, and I would know. hehehe

Simon at Constant Revisions  because he's snarky and amuses me. And male writer/bloggers can be quite awesome too. 

Ashy at World of My Own because she is awesomeness in too many ways, and came back to blogger! *hugs* Oh, and she's my twin from WDC. Prolific and all that jazz. 

Tara at Midnight Ink  because she's passionate about fiction and fun to follow on Twitter.

Kristie Cook  gets the award cause she's amusing and lets her novel characters take over her blog, or at least she did once so far. Fun times over at her site.

So, why am I lame. Well, that is something I am saying and people might disagree. Wanna know how much I've written of any novel in May? umm. The YA rewrite got maybe 1,000 words, almost. Sekrit Novel has chapter 1 still being written but from the looks I'm guessing around 3,000 words, though it's hard to hand count.  Yep. March I wrote 67,000 words of a novel. May has 4,000. Big difference.

I am in two classes online right now. At the beginning of the month was the end of Anatomy & Physiology 2 class and lab. Now, I'm in Nutrition and Pathophysiology. But I'm getting used to the homework assignments, what they require and when they are due. What throws me off a bit is most classes have the test each week on day 7, can take before but it's open till then. Not nutrition. I have to take the test on day 5. But I'm getting used to it.  June approaches.

My goal for June = be less lame... I mean, write more of the YA rewrite, Sekrit novel and maybe even Fallen, though if I don't get a real title for the book soon, I might write the fake title in a journal just so I have something to throw! For real.

So, How are you?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hook 'em with a Logline

Logline/Hook Blogfest is brought to us by  The Time Guardian  Check out the blog to see the other entires and read more.    

In light of the topic and the fact that the purpose of this blog is to talk about writing topics in general, I'm going to talk about loglines and hooks. If you just want to read my hooks go to the end of the post, they're down there somewhere. Let's consider a few things first.

What is a logline/hook?

Industry standards have defined it, and most seem to agree, that a logline is a summary sentence that describes the entire book in 1-2 sentences. Correction: That describes the main plot of the book and main character in 1-2 sentences in order to grab the attention of the listener. Looking at it that way instead of saying the book in its entire 200 some page form is a little easier to swallow in pill form.

The listener will vary. It could be an elusive editor, agent, publisher, or grandma (if yours is like mine and doesn't understand anything about publishing or writing books). This is the shortest description possible because sometimes that's all you get. Like the first sentence of a speech, essay (when done correctly) it has to hook the audience, grab their attention and make them want need yearn to know more.

Many people have talked about this topic. What it is and then they list different loglines from movies (as the logline is an important item for a script writer) showing how they work, and how little changes make a big difference. But I'm going to diverge from that approach and instead go with something I know. Public Speaking (Yes, I am a shy writer and don't care for giving speeches but I have 8 years of practice competing in speech and debate. I also have a minor in communication.)

The first paragraph of a speech, or one of the first several paragraphs of an essay, is supposed to have a thesis statement. This statement sums up the main point no matter how long the speech or paper/essay are because even the 200 page thesis for a Master's degree can include these couple of sentences. The goal is to sum up the topic in general. The way we would teach the speech format to the public speaking classes at the University is this: Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them it and then tell them what you told them. That is what the introduction, body and conclusion do in their simple forms. The introduction format is the "hook" that is an entertaining introduction to grab the audiences attention. Then there is the thesis statement that sums up the main point, and then there are the sub points described (often three but not always). The logline is a combination of the hook and the thesis statement.

For more advice and examples on writing loglines check out these sites:

Blogfest Entry: Read Here and don't forget to check out the other entries at the above listed blog.

Rules of the blogfest: "Create a single sentence description of your novel. And don’t try to cram 13 semicolons and another half-dozen commas in to squeeze your logline into the 1 sentence rule. If you can’t speak your logline in a single breath, it’s too long.
One additional note: each participant can post up to five (5) different versions of their logline. That way we can all comment on our favorite of the bunch, what worked/didn’t work, and why."

And I'm not following all the rules. I've seen people post in blogfests long enough to know that the "rules" aren't always strict. I'm going to post loglines for different novels. Some have more than one logline while others I'm just posting one. My main reason for doing this is to practice since only 2 of the novels have finished first drafts, one is in rewriter and the other waiting. The other book's first draft is in progress, a slow progress. And instead of talking about each novel. I'm just going to post the loglines and see what reactions they get. Enjoy!

Tattle Tell

Ephram has been a snitch to the Suits ever since he can remember, but when he discovers his new best friend is a mutant he must decide between friendship and the consequences of life as a tattle tale.

Standing Ground

All Noah wants is to be normal and never use his mutation again, but when his family and boyfriend are kidnapped he's forced to risk exposure to save the ones he loves.

Fallen (still needs a real title)

Angels and demons don't get along, let alone date, but no one told Elijah and Lucas that. (Not the real logline, but I kind of like it at this moment so I'm keeping it in this blog post.)

Lucas believes everything good ended when he became a demon; until he falls in love and must fight to keep his relationship. But can a nice guy make it as a demon in Detroit?

As an angel, Elijah is bored with the monotony until one night he searches for sin and instead finds love... with a male demon.

XXY (Not the title, just the pre-title since I haven't even started writing this one yet.)

It's hard to be a teenager and even harder for someone born both male and female. Taylor's life is a struggle with no friends, parents that don't understand, and having to pick which gender is the right one.

Sekrit Novel

Ha Ha

I'm not telling!

Pull or Not

I've started to work on the flower beds. But I know nothing about flowers, or what was planted in this bed the past several years. I was living in Utah, not Wyoming then. So, I started pulling the weeds and a few stray flowers that had showed up this spring because I'm going with a color scheme that doesn't include purple or blue this year.

Pull... pulll.... pull...

All while listening to music and sweating cause I had my coat on. Yeah, it's not hot out yet, so wanted to not get cold.

Then I noticed something. The plant with the little purple flowers had a bulb at the bottom. (Not kidding when I say I know nothing.) I dug deeper and found many bulbs. I'm talking over 25 in one small area. And it got me thinking about writing.

When it comes to editing and weeding out (hehehe) the stuff not needed in the novel, do we really pay enough attention? I would hope so but it's something to consider. Do we know how are the root of the item being pulled goes? Is there something we're missing? Can the bulbs be used somewhere else?

I think I'll save some of these bulbs and try planting them just to see what happens.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not Writers

This is going to be about some of the people in my life, in reference, who are not writers because the truth is, it can be hard to talk about writing with non-writers. And I don't mean the babbling on about different characters and how the talk to us while the non-writer gets ready the straight jacket. I just mean about general writing. I know a few other people have done posts on this topic as well, so I decided to focus mine and show how different people in my own life approach the topic of writing with me.

She doesn't know a lot about writing and very well knows it. She is super supportive and always listens to what I have to say without judgement or argument. She has one idea for a romance novel, but doesn't think she's good enough to actually write it. So, I have said I'd write it for her but it's hard to fit in among my own 50+ ideas.

Doesn't write but reads a lot. He knows how difficult it is to get into writing and to get a book published. A close friend of his self-published a book, through the "right way" with rewrites, edits and all that jazz. So, he's seen the process even with that and knows it takes a lot to get done. He doesn't mind talking about books and publishing though I don't share novel details too often cause well, it's weird to talk about my gay boy characters with family.

Stepdad's Mom
She doesn't understand how people write, but not in a bad way. She thinks it's great for the people who can do it. She also rants about how she doesn't believe when some random celeb comes out with a book all of a sudden, that they claim to have written but didn't talk about it before it was published. Yeah... she's funny.

He is a little harder. He tries to be helpful and has is own set opinions on the business. So, I have a hard time talking with him because I don't want to argue about things like whether a person should rewrite or not. He thinks you write the book and then send it out, 2 simple steps. When I do mention rewriting, he snaps a little and says I'm being a perfectionist. (I'm on my very first rewrite.... X.x)

So, my point today? Some understand even though they don't write. Others don't understand but aren't afraid to admit it. The hard ones are the ones who think they know what they are talking about with the industry when the truth is they are often mistaken. That is my experience so far.

How about you? What does the non-writer in your life say/think about writing?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Award and Update

The lovely, wonderful (and my boss at the Writer's Academy) Harley has given me another blog award and this one was too cute to not post. Check out Harley's blog too. the labotomy of a writer

The Cherry on Top Award - aka Cupcake Award

Isn't it cute! Okay, I don't really like pink but it has CupCakes!!! I want a cupcake now.  With a cherry, a strawberry and a little bit of caramel on top. (I eat weird things, don't mind me.)

She didn't list rules for the award. She gave it to 5 different blogs but I couldn't pick a fifth one, but one of them is actually 4 people, so I think it's okay.
1. Mia! Cause her blog has a title that involves toast cause she's awesome like that.
2. Melanie Golden She's cool, and I won a book when she held a contest/giveaway.
3. Simply Certifiable Crew The whole group is awesome, check out each one. Harley is one, hehehe.
4. Alliterative Allomorph Awesome blog that had a fun blogfest.

Now for the update part. What am I updating about? The author/book suggestion blog post from a few weeks ago. This is the results of the open post where people could pick any author they wanted and I'd try to get an interview with them (try, as to whether or not the author wants to be interviewed by me). I also had the book suggestions and these are the ones that I haven't already read, and will consider reading. A few aren't on the list, including one that didn't follow the rules of the post *cough*Twilight*cough*. ;-)

Authors I will try and interview:
John Green
Kristie Cook (I follow her blog even)
Suzanne Collins
Carrie Ryan
Kat Richardson
Maureen Johnson
Stephen King
Andrea Cremer (And her blog)
Kiersten White (And her blog)

Some are more likely than others but we'll wait and see. I like to have read at least one book by an author that I interview but that may not always be the case. I haven't started trying to ask for interviews, yet. I'm trying to figure out the best approach. And I need questions to ask them. So, I'll be asking for more reader help in the near future.

Book list of possible books to read, though I have enough on my reading list already:
Hex Hall
Before I Fall
Hunger Games (own)
The Historian (own)
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (might own but don't remember)
Some Girls Are
The Sky is Everywhere
The Body Finder
North of Beautiful

The end.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Internal Conflict

Today is a blogfest and instead of posting it on my "It's In The Book" blog, I decided to post it on here because I thought internal conflict would be a good subject for a writing blog. Then came the assignments for anatomy & physiology. This is my last, half week so all assignments and both tests are due within the first three days of this week. X.X <-- I look like that already as today is the last day, I have two tests and one assignment and tomorrow the new classes start. OMG

So, I don't have a well thought discussion on internal conflict, why it's good and how it can be a bit difficult to write for those of us that "tell" more often than we should. Alas, that will have to happen in the future when I'm not in a panic over school.

But I do have a post for the blogfest. I think I do anyways. This is from the first draft of the YA novel, back when it was in first person *shudders*. I'm not going to post a lot of it, but I thought I'd show the Suits a bit. For those that don't know who the suits are, they are mentioned in my other blog in a blogfest entry. They go to Ephram's (main character) parents' house and ask him if he's noticed any signed of people with genetic mutations. Some are noticeable at birth, but most aren't seen until the teen years.

Did a minor edit over a year ago on this and it's already re-written into third person. So, you all get to see the old version but not the new one. haha... I mean. Hi.

The setup: Ephram saw one of his only friends, Levi, spin coins in a way that meant he was a mutant. He's supposed to tell the suits about him, but he really doesn't want to. During the questioning, the Suits try for a little bad cop/good cop. Okay, that's all you need to know. I'll try to get the entry shortish. Enjoy!

Ephram's Defiance (first draft title)
Chapter 2: Tattle Trouble

"Did you see anything or not? We don't have all day."

"Maybe, I'm not really sure." I try to avoid saying his name just yet. Eventually I will have to but I want to avoid it for as long as possible.

Again the nice suit tries to come off as the good guy. "You can tell us. It will be okay."

The other suit isn't going to put up with anything. He knows that I've been through this routine several times before and he isn't going to let me get away with avoiding the issue. "Tell us now or we will have to take you to the office to be reprimanded. You know the rules. Stop messing around and tell us the names of anyone who showed signs of a mutation."

"Fine." I look down at my feet as my right foot begins to tap the wood coffee table seated in the middle of the couch and chairs. "There was an older boy at the grocery store that seemed like he might be. He moved stuff around faster than normal people could but I don't know his name."

"Okay. Anyone else?" The suits seem relieved that they are getting the information they need, finally.

I nod, and twist my head so that I'm looking in a direction not facing them. "Levi Jareks." I mutter as low as possible, hoping they'd hear it wrong and think I'd said someone else.

"Can you please speak up." The nice one still playing his role says, "We couldn't hear what you said."

The other suit stands, frustrated. "I've had enough of this nonsense. We don't have time to be fooling around with some little mutant. Maybe he needs reminded why he should behave."

"Excuse us for a minute." The nice suit says to me as he stands up. Both of them move to the side of the room away from me and argue. He probably doesn't want me to know that he is only pretending to be nice in order to get me to cooperate. As if I hadn't noticed already.

Once they return, the other suit stands silent, still angry. The nice suit speaks to me instead. "I'm sorry about that. We are just really busy and need to get back soon. It would be helpful for us if you would not dawdle anymore. Could you please repeat the last name you mentioned loud enough so we can hear it?"

I don't want to tell. I want them to leave and never bother me again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reading Outside Genre

But first...

Yeah, I kind of failed at the reading week. I almsot finished the books I started reading. Then things came up and I just suck. Okay. It's not that big of a deal. I'll focus on reading 1-2 books a week for most of the year instead. I aimed too high with the read it week. Maybe I should do a read it month this summer. We'll see.

Now for the topic that I promised last time.

Not Reading in the Genre You're Writing

Yes, it's okay to not read in the genre you are writing. By this, I mean two different things.
1. reading in other genres
2. not reading books with similar themes while writing your own

Reading in other genres:
If you don't do this already. Tsk. You should. It's okay to have a preferred genre that you read more in but when writing and developing your skill as a writer, it's a good idea to read other genres. Because we can all learn a lot from everyone else that has come before us even if we never write in that specific genre.

There are elements, techniques, tricks of the trade that are not genre specific. Having good characters for example (and by good I mean well written because we all love those bad boy and bad girl characters too) is one that can be found in most genres, if not all. Other examples whould be foreshadowing, dream sequences, dialogue, setting and description. Showing not telling can be learned from reading other genres. But let's get a little more specific and look into specific genres and what can be learned from them.

Fantasy and Science Fiction = World Building
These authors sometimes work very hard to develope their world far beyond what gets put in the text of the books. Creating different races, creatures, governments, militaries is a lot of work. But it can also show insight into real worlds and how to show those aspects.

Mystery = Foreshadowing
Laying down clues that once the reader knows the result they will think "Oh, duh. That makes sense." while not feeling cheated. At least, that something I think a really good mystery could do but I don't read those books yet.

Romance = ummm Romance
Want to have a side story involving romance? Why not see what the people do in full on romance books? Sure, some of it might not be of help, some can read as a bit formulaic but seeing characters reactions to each other, reading how people fall in love is bound to at least give some suggestions, ideas on how to have characters fall in love even in the middle of dangerous situations (like in thriller/suspense types).

Not reading similar books:
This might sound a little weird but I've heard of published authors doing this, so I'm going to go with them. For example, the author of "The Good Fairies of New York" didn't read books like "American Gods" because it had gods and goddesses as characters. The reasoning behind not reading similar books while writing the draft (it's okay to read when taking breaks between drafts) is because the writer doesn't want the other works to influence their own story. That's the reason not to read in the genre/type of novel while writing.

Sometimes it's just what works best for the writer.

Confession: I don't read every genre I write.

That's right. Now, why you may ask? Well, sometimes I have ideas and I start writing them even if I don't know how to write them. Other times, I enjoy what I do with my own characters but the genre as a whole doesn't interest me.

I write erotica/romance novels and short stories. I don't read them. Well, I glance over other entries in the erotica contests but I don't seek out erotica to read. Why? For one, most the people that enter the contests I do on the sight write straight erotica. Boring! It doesn't interest me in the slightest. See an occasion female/female but often times they will add a male in there part way in the story and that just frustrates me. I hate that! And it's even rare to have male/male. But the truth is, sex in general doesn't interest me. So, why write them? It's what is in my head. It's my characters and their stories. Sure, sex is something I don't care about (leaning towards asexual) but that's not true of my novel characters. They are not me and it's their story I'm telling, not my own.

I have a mystery series started. Have I read a mystery book? No. I hadn't planned on every writing mystery but it's a story and it want's to be done. Will I never read in the genre? No. But I'm waiting until after I have the first draft of the first book written.

So, what about you...
Do you read other genres?
Do you ever write in a genre you've never read in?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reading in Genre

Progress Report: Okay. I'm a slow reader. And have homework for anatomy & physiology 2. Working on #mayno rewrite and sekrit novel. 10 books was too much. I'll be lucky if I finish 5, but I'll get the 10 read in May. I will have Wren to the Rescue done by tomorrow and close to having the Particle Physics book done too. Both are short, some of the shortest books on my list. But I'm okay with it. At least I'm reading.
Image shows things from Physics book. See physics can be fun!

To continue my week on reading topics...

Read in the Genre You Write

The reason for this can seem rather obvious. It helps to know what others in the same genre have done and to get an idea of what is expected. Sure, there is an interest at some point in being inventive and original but there are still certain aspects expected in each genre. How can you know what you're doing if you've never read in the genre? (I have a different answer for the next blog post, so stay tuned for that because I break this rule.) Most of the time, the answer is simple. You can't.

Let's go into this a little more. Why read in the genre you're writing?

1.) Most genre fiction has certain tropes, aspects and styles expected from writers. When someone picks up say, a mystery, they execpt to read a certain type of story. Just because the main character is a detective, that doesn't mean it is a mystery novel. There are other factors to take into consideration. For example, add paranormal elemtents as an important part of the story, such as vampires, werewolves, etc... the novel is more likely to be in fantasy/sci-fi (depending on how the book store sets up their shelves) than mystery. Wizard detectives are in fantasy/sci-fi, as another example.
2.) Reading in general is a good tool to learn about writing. Whether in the same genre, or not, there are common writing elements that authors use. Being able to see them in work is useful. Some of the things about writing in general that can be learned are foreshadowing, dream sequences, point of view, and many others.
3.) In genre reading shows what others have done in the past. This might sound like a repetition, but it's one that bears extra consideration. Let's say you have a vampire novel (which many people do). Reading other novels that are already published shows what types of vampire lore has been used, the different character elements that determine villains versus heroes and many other aspects. It can help because you know how to make yours different because you know what has already been used. Same goes with elves, witches, fairies, detectives, and many other types of characters/creatures.

There are a few other reasons but I don't want to go on for too long. As usual, I leave you with a questions.

Do you read in the genre you write? Why?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reading Week

Today is day one of my #ReadItWeek and I haven't read yet. But I'm going to soon. I've had a busy morning. Since I'm doing a week of writing, I am going to follow Harley's blogging method and post a few times this week on the topic of writing. Bought two more books today. Got the first book by Gail Carriger, Soulless, since I accidently bought book 2 of the series first. Then at random, I bought The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I'd heard it mentioned in blogs. Almost got I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells since I listen to a podcast he takes part in, but decided against it. One of these days I will buy the book.

#ReadItWeek books 1 and 2
Wren to the Rescue
Particle Physics

Today's Post: General Reading

Writers should read. That's a fact. However, sometimes its not easy to find the time for both, or that has been my experience. I used to read all the time. I would read while eating dinner and watching a movie. I would read while walking. (Yes, I would actually read a book and walk around the house. I was that good.) Then I went to college and the reading ended. The last couple of years, I didn't even read the books required for classes. Even in a lit class, I didn't read the books. I'm good enough at the essays and such, that I did the homework find without actually doing the reading. Not that I didn't like reading anymore, I just felt burned out. But I know how important reading is to writers.

First, reading helps develop understanding of the genres and different writing techniques. It's easier to learn about "show don't tell", flashbacks that don't jarr or confuse, or even point of view from examples instead of just being told what to do by a book on writing. It helps to see what others have done to tell stories and is a good companion to the number one writing rule... write!

Second, it helps build vocabulary. I've noticed over the years, even with competing in policy debate, I have lost some of my vocabulary that I used to have. I was more intelligent and didn't have to look up words as much when I was reading on a regular basis. Now, I struggle and need my dictionary/thesaurus. I hope to improve this by reading more.

So, those are two reasons to read. But don't just listen to me. Here are some quotations about writing and reading. Other people are saying it too!

If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write.
- Stephen King

The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts.
- Rene Descartes 

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.
- Charles W. Eliot

When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.
- Michel de Montaigne

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
- Sir Richard Steele