Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Underwrite versus Overwrite

Thursday is going to be a Share Your Darlings blogfest, which I've decided to post on this blog instead of my writing blog in order to talk about cutting scenes and chapters even when they are loved ones. So, for today's post I'm going to discuss the difference between underwriting the first draft and overwriting it.

What do I mean?

Underwrite in a first draft is to have a draft with a smallish word count that gets the basics of the story down but runs the risk of not being long enough. Often, the second draft will involve an increase in word count as scenes are filled in, descriptions added and some minor subplots increased to give the story better weight. The word count varies based on genre and amount of underwriting.

Overwrite of a first draft involves have not only a larger word count but often includes extra scenes, characters, etc. The second draft may or may not involved cutting down/reducing word count, depending on the genre and desired word counts. Eventually, there will be cutting down within this type of writing, at some point in the rewrite process.

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Cutting scenes can be difficult because some of those scenes can be well written and interesting, but they don't serve the story enough to keep them in the novel. Underwriting requires a lengthier rewrite in order to get the novel to a proficient length and filling out the scenes takes time. Both can take time based upon what type of writing the writer does better.

What kind of writer am I?

I tend to underwrite but I'm getting better. The first draft of Tattle Tell, then called Ephram's Defiance is a YA novel that came out at 23,000 words in length, which is very low. My romance erotica novel was the first novel I'd ever finished and it was only 56,000 words. It wasn't until I wrote the first draft of the adult mutant novel, Standing Ground, did I get to a proficient length of 90,000 words. I'm not a descriptive writer and so most of the first draft is basic actions, characters and dialogue needed for the scenes. It's nice in that I don't have to cut down much of the novel to make the story work but at the same time, the rewrite is like writing a first draft. I have to write more in my second draft with the except maybe of the adult mutant novel.

What kind of writer are you?
Which do you think is better: underwriting or overwriting?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Progress and Goals

I know it's not quite the end of the month but it's close enough. One thing to do when making goals is to check progress. For month goals it helps to check half way, so on the 15th, but I also have a blog like item on writing.com and posted the data there. June has involved writing but not all goals were achieved.

My goals for June were:

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

Results for June:

15 for 15 contest - Success! Yep. I entered all 15 days, without a single late entry or missed day. Only placed 2 of the 15 but that's okay. I got some good scenes written and now plan to write Michael's book (mutant) for NaNoWriMo.

2-3 chapters of angel//demon - 1 chapter done, but it was a chapter I struggled on and the end word count is a little over 3,800 words. That may be short for some but when I started writing books the chapters were rarely above 1,000.

YA novel - No where near 25k. I got less than 10k for the month. But I did finished a few chapter rewrites. Have 7 chapters done and at least 13 more to go. Might make some of them into more than one since the word counts will easily increase and the later chapters were longer anyways. And the novel now has over 14,000 words.

Some progress, which is good even though it's not quite what I set out to accomplish. Happy to have gotten some writing done and now it's time to make goals for July.

July Goals:

15k on YA mutant rewrite
10k on novel first drafts

Think that's good enough. It's not quite as high as last month but close. And I can choose which novel first draft I can work upon for the second goal. AAE and Angel//Demon are at the top of my list, just below the ya novel rewrite.

What are your goals for July?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plans and Award

There is so much I want to do with this blog and I'm hoping to get to them in the future. Aside from the general writing topics, I have one more blogfest in the near future that is going to be posted on this blog at this point. 

I do plan to get together author interviews in the future and I'll need help. So, there will be a post asking for questions you want to ask authors in general and specific ones that are on the list right now. Then we'll see if I can contact them and get someone to agree to be interviewed by me for the blog. 

Also, I'm thinking of doing some theme weeks. Like an Undead week and things similar to that. Not sure how it will go just yet but the idea is in the works.

Now for the blog award. 

The rules that apply with accepting this award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award

Thank you, Bryan from Time Guardian Saga blog for this wonderful award. I appreciate the award, really I do.

2. Share 7 things about yourself 

1. I am clueless. At least in the career way. I'd love to be a midwife-nurse and write but I'm burnt out so bad from school. One bachelor's of integrated studies down and now getting an associates of health science. Every day I doubt what I'm doing and where I'm going.

2. I paint. Mostly with oils, but acrylics work as well. Have to move faster to blend colors during the process with acrylics cause I'm too lazy to find the right slowing agent but it's more fun that way. I did study art as part of my bachelor's with 3 painting classes. But I don't have room to paint right now and I really miss it.

3. Didn't start writing until college, aside from poetry. I had an idea for a novel back in high school, and then a second idea came up based on writing a one act play for school. I had a short story in junior high that I even found pictures to make a cover for when I turned it in that was about magic fairies but true to form it was the start of a big idea and not a short story. Still got a good grade, but didn't write seriously till second year in college.

4.  Will be turning 26 near the end of August but I'm short, so most don't think I'm that old. About a year ago I was mistaken for a high schooler at a group I'd volunteered with as an adult (21+ to volunteer) for 3 years.

5. I prefer girls when it comes to dating but have a boyfriend. Yet, physical wise I'm more on the side of asexual (not interested). And I dream as a gay male. Most of my novel characters are gay male, with a few bi, two female and one born both male/female. Straight, or "normal" characters as my mom and sister would put it, don't interest me as much for my own writing.

6. Can't wait to start a family. Wish it wasn't taking me this long to get my life in order because all I want to do is write and have a family. I love kids and it's a good thing cause everyone in my family is waiting for me to start having them. lol

7. I wish I could write, rewrite and edit one book at a time, giving it my entire focus to send out before starting on a new project. But I can't. I still doubt which novel is going to be the best to send out first. This is causing the journey to also be longer than first anticipated, and that saddens me a bit. But I'll get over it and back to work soon.

3. Share with 15 people
Seriously? I'll give it to a few people and that's it cause many already have the blog award, and that's way the goodness too many.

Mia's new zombie blog shall have this award! Cause I dictate it. http://miaandalsothezombies.blogspot.com/

Livia has a fun blog and is smart. http://blog.liviablackburne.com/

Kristie is awesomeness and people should read her blog. http://www.kristiecook.com/

Okay. I need to quit this and get to writing. Enjoy and if you want the blog award then go ahead cause I don't want to name 12 more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Break the Rules

Yep. The time has come to talk about rules and to break them.

I mean, it's time for the Break the Rules Blogfest, which I am posting on this blog instead of my other one because it's a great excuse to talk about writing rules, again. For those that remember, though I'm sure the one person who commented on that entry doesn't even remember, I posted about writing rules. They aren't rules like "no weather talk as hook" or "cut down the usually used adverbs" but instead rules writer's should have for themselves, like try to write every day. Check out the old post if you want Old Rules Blog Entry but it's okay if you don't go back.

Now I'm going to talk about rules for the actual writing, and then I'll post an entry that breaks a few of the rules. Some I've heard often, others not as much and a good number of them I don't follow. I'm bad like that. *giggles* If you just want to read the entry, go down to the bolded "Blogfest" section with the blogfest details and entry.

Some writing rules (in no particular order):
1. limit adverbs
2. don't start with weather
3. write what you know
4. don't start with dialogue
5. no second person
6. no present tense, or future tense (don't see the future so i'm guessing it's a rule)
7. don't follow trends
8. avoid animal main characters, except maybe in children's books
9. no inanimate objects as main characters either

Some of these make sense. Don't follow trends because by the time you get the book done enough to submit it sure as heck won't be a trend. Write what you know, I don't believe but I'm not going to explain here. Maybe some other post. I might have talked about it in the past already, I don't remember. Let's look at numbers 1, 2, 4, and 6 in particular.

1 - Ever since being in an online critique group, I notice adverbs in anything I read. Okay, not all adverbs but the -ly ones in particular. I'd conveniently forgotten that -ing also can be an adverb, and I knew to cut down words like "just". However, I had other people in the group who would not see the point I was making when I would comment on the adverb usage. They just didn't see the problem. (Notice all my adverbs in this? lol) I'm not talking a few, either. When I mention it I'm talking several adverbs in one paragraph and sometimes three in a single sentence. That to me is too much, since I've been dealt this rule for a number of years now. They have their place. The rule isn't saying they should be eliminated. The trick here is to know when to use them, and when to find a stronger way to write the sentence.

2 - Don't start with weather. I don't know for sure but this might be in part because it was done too often in the past. Setting the scene makes sense, to a degree, which is why some people will start with weather and it can be used as a foreshadowing tool. But it's not as catching for a hook. It doesn't give the reader the character they are to become involved with by reading the book, there isn't real action except maybe in a storm. It has it's place in a few books but not everyone cares what the weather is like, at least not on page one, paragraph one. I actually haven't really done with one before. Not that I can recall at least.

4 - I heard this one from someone else. I honestly, until they mentioned it, did not think it was considered bad. Often with my little short stories for contests on Writing.com I'll start with dialogue because it can be attention grabbing. There is sometimes action, movement in dialogue and it draws the reader right in. I guess people say this shouldn't be done. *shrugs* The novel I plan to submit to agents, the one I'm doing the rewrite now is YA involving mutants and yes, it starts with dialogue. So, if this is a real rule then I break it all the time.

6 - I can see how this one may be in effect. Not many books that I've read are done in present tense and the one from my critique sounded weird. I don't know what it is either. Yet I have books in present tense. Yep, I do. Started with first person present tense because for the book it sounded better that way. Most of what I write, however, is in past tense and I'm more comfortable with that. But it's sort of a rule that most books follow.

Okay. That's my ramble about the writing rules. Let's get to the actual blogfest.

Break the Rules Blogfest with the great host of Elizabeth Mueller and check out the link to see the other entries.

"Rules, Rules, Rules. Okay, what we are going to do is REBEL against those rules on June 18th. Let's think outside the box. Bring on your first drafts, your when-you-were-a-kid-first-draft kinda writing. Let's see how many of us have grown from it and how common these rules were broken in the good ole days of writing innocence." - Taken from the blog post about the blogfest.

About my entry: There isn't much to tell. Not following the idea mentioned above in posting something from when I first started writing. I thought about this last night, at 2:15 am after I stopped reading in hopes of going to sleep. I blame the blogfest creator, Elizabeth Mueller and Carrie Ryan (Author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth) since I was reading her book before coming up with this idea, because I don't need a new idea. I really don't. But here it is. I don't have names for characters or a full plot, so I'm going to say this:
It's adult fantasy, first person point of view, present tense with female main character. The hook is dialogue and weather, while there are adverbs in the short entry. But I do like that I managed, for once, in a paragraph to use 5 senses, which you can ask Ashy, that's rare. So, Enjoy!

Entry: novel//story is unknown

"It's just rain."

The words don't provide comfort, at least, not for me. I can feel it. This so-called rain, this deeply disturbing weather, is different. The clouds billow and expand in ways no clouds should. From them come a sound, that everyone is mistaking for thunder, but it can't be thunder. It's constant rumbling like that of the ocean but there is no mass of sea water. It's coming from the clouds, I'm sure of it. The water falling tingles when the droplets fall on uncovered skin. Allowing the weird droplets on one's tongue gives a taste of thin syrup, but it's not a good taste. There is no warmth, no pleasantness in this syrup water. The smell makes up the air is thick and musky with mismatched odors that remind me of dying flowers that are close to qualifying as mulch. I don't know why no one notices all these differences. As a witch, I'm used to sensing, to seeing before the normal ones but this time I'm the only one willing to admit the change. They all act as if nothing is wrong, nothing is different.

I try to convince him that it's different, because of all the people in this location, he is the one that should believe me, but he doesn't. He thinks I'm over-sensitive and blames the pregnancy. He says the hormones and such make things seem different. I know he's wrong.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Progress Report

There is a blogfest coming up that will be posted on this blog about breaking the rules, so look for that post next. But for today, since I haven't posted in a bit, I thought I'd post a progress report for those interested in the results of being overwhelmed.

Like the image? Me too and it works for something I'll discuss at the end, since I've come to some major realizations in the last 24 hours. Because I like to make goals, and do them year/monthly and sometimes on a week or day basis. The overwhelmingness, that hasn't left, can sometimes get in the way so it helps to check on progress during times of crushing nature (being overwhelmed) to see how things are going. Often, I find I've done more than I expected and that's a good boost of confidence.

So, what have I been up to the past week?

15 for 15 contest - Write 15 minutes for 15 days, each day based on a picture prompt. Success. Tomorrow is the last day and even with the prompt where I wrote a sucky poem, I got stuff turned in. Haven't even had a late entry. Yay me! okay, so I only placed 2 days of the 15 but one was a first place and two is better than none (which is what I expect to win cause with 30+ contestants, it's tough to place). Even more important, I have stuff for a third mutant novel, with Michael as the main character (he's a minor one in Standing Ground, one of the rogue ones that try to break into SS). I have two sections of a male witch story created, and one or two for romance/erotica stories. All in all, a successful 15 days writing.

Homework - Week 5 is almost done. Have a quiz to take today in Pathophysiology. Did turn in one assignment possibly late (It wasn't midnight my time but it's hard to figure out what time they go by) but I'd almost forget it was also due on day 5, the day of the nutrition quiz. But that's the only one. The rest were done earlier in the days they were due. Now, need to work on scoring higher on the tests can my grades for those are passing but barely.

Novel Rewrite - I've done some of it. I only got 5k of 7k for the week mad dash, but I only wrote 3 of the 7 days. So, yeah. But I've written since then and have another chapter almost done. I was on chapter 4 when the dash started and I'm now almost done with chapter 7. All are around double the original length, or more. But I'll post a rewrite blog post later on to discuss it more since I think my rewrite is a bit different than others.

Health - eating is still in need of work, but I exercise on a regular basis. I have lost 7 lbs the last two weeks, which seems a bit much but I gained 16 lbs the month and a half before that. So, I'm making up for lost ground.

Now, to the realization I made last night after midnight as I attempted in failing-ness to sleep. I was thinking about my goals for the year and the dream of getting published, which was stemmed in part by chatting with my writing twin on twitter last night. This will be discussed even further as I'll explain my reasoning in a future blog post, but here's the results.

My goals for 2010 were this:
Rewrite YA novel and edit
Have a different novel first draft finished
Start submitting a novel by 2011 to agents

Not many goals right? And I am making obvious progress. I made one goal the first week of April as I finished writing the first draft of Standing Ground. Easy to do when you write 67k of the book in a single month. The rewrite is going well. Of a 20 chapter first draft, I'm finishing chapter 7. The word count is at almost 14k, while the first draft total was at 23k. So, it's going well and I should get the rewrite done by my birthday (end of august) for sure. But the other goal is where my confession lies.

It's not going to happen. It's not realistic. (see step one of image)
I'm coming to terms with the fact that I won't be ready for sending out to agents by 2011, and that I don't know when I'll be ready. It kind of sucks, but with the way I write, the first steps are going to take longer than most. The hope is, when I do get to that stage I'll have so much done, the next books will be coming along already and it will go one after the other. But until that time comes, I've got to keep my goals realistic and write.

Just need to write. And take my pathophysiology quiz.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


"I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed but can you  ever just be whelmed?" - paraphrased from 10 Things I Hate About You, the movie.

I am overwhelmed and have been since at least friday. And I'm going to tell you all why because sometimes in writing, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Or maybe that's just me...
(Look below the overwhelmed talk for happiness and a blog award.)

School - I have one bachelor's degree but am getting an associates online in health science and then will apply for nursing school.  I have 3 classes left, 2 of which I'm in right now. The classes I'm taking are nutrition and pathophysiology. Each has 2-3 assignments due per week (which aren't mon-fri or mon-sun, they are thursday - wednesday) and a quiz, with one on day 5 and the other on day 7. And the assignments can take hours to do.

Work - hahahaha. Okay, so I'm lame-ish and don't have a job right now. I do help my grandma with anything she needs and despite me saying I don't need paid she gives me money anyways. I am working whenever we need someone at the medical supply store but that's it.

Blogfests - there was one on friday that had over 50 entries. Then saturday was a blogfest with over 20 entries. It took me three days to go through most of them, with a few that got missed or went without comment. If your blogfest entry is really really long then I am not reading it because I don't have the time.

Promises I've made - I was supposed to review/grade for a poetry class online. I managed one but the person running the academy, she knows who she is, did most the poetry reviews. I have a single synopsis to critique and each time I go to do it, homework gets in the way.

Writing - I've only managed to write for the 15 for 15 contest, which is 15 minutes writing and posting the end product for 15 days based upon a picture prompt. Today is about birds and the type of bird is a booby... ummm, yeah.  But no novel writing at this point. I think about them but that's it. *sighs*

So, I have a lot to do and haven't done much really, which makes it worse. Yet sometimes, when I'm overwhelmed I do my best work. Sure, I procrastinate and do everything last minute. I have to work on too many projects, but the writing somehow comes out better (or so the grades and teachers tell me abou the end product).

Thanks to miss Ashy, whom is the best except when she makes me deal with this stuff, I get to write about 10 things that make me happy. Oh boy. (x),(x)
1. Writing (yeah, that should have been obvious) because I love to write.
2. Painting. I may not have mentioned this or might have, but my bachelor's degree includes art and at least 3 of the classes were painting. I'm really not a good drawer but I love to pain with oils or acrylics.
3. Friends, who are almost all online. Okay. They are all online. Ashy (aka Twinnie), Mire, Tara, Harley, and so many others that I interact with on Writing.com, Twitter and Blogs.
4. My boyfriend. He can bug me sometimes, but he can also make me happy. It's so strange for me to have someone persue me in the way he had. We met on writing.com, so he's a writer too.
5. Books. Bookstores, books I own, libraries, reading books, owning books, all of it is fabulous. I want to have a library room in my home some day filled with books. Good think BF wants that too.
6. Animals. Pets and not pets, they all have a special place even if some are icky and kinda scary. I love my pets in particular. Cats are de best. I miss my dwarf hamsters, who have passed away.
7. Music. I listen to a variety of types, love most of them. Used to play clarinet, bari sax, alto clarinet. Performed in choirs and even studied voice for a year in college (soprano). Though, it's very rare for anyone to get to hear me sing.
8. Little kids and babies. Okay, this may sound weird but I love infants and toddlers. I'm really good with kids as they seem to really like me. I get all warm and fuzzy when any are around, well that or sad cause I don't have any yet.
9. Family. Some of my family is crazy and weird but my mom and some of my closes family members are just plain great.
10. Sleep. I like sleep. I love dreams, which occur when I'm sleeping. Yay for sleep.

Now for a blog award. Thanks to Melanie Golden and her blog for this award. Check her out at http://melaniegolden.blogspot.com/

Isn't it pretty? So, I have to answer some questions and then give the award to other people. On to the questions.

1. What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
I love to read fantasy. Most of it is from the fantasy/science fiction section in the book stores but sometimes YA. I like the type with magic, witches, mages, elves and stuff like that. I haven't gotten into the paranormal trends but have a few books to read in them. As for why, umm... I started reading it wehn I was in junior high or even earlier. It's fun with great characters and a good break from reality.

2. If you couldn't write in the genre you do, what genre would you write in? 
Umm, which one? I already write in at least 5 genres. If I couldn't do any type of fantasy then I'd do all the teen gay books or the coming out trilogy. 

3. Pepsi or Cola?
Gotta say Pepsi. I've liked it ever since reading The Outsiders, which is kinda dorky but I don't care.

4. How do you like to spend your Sundays?
Writing and sleeping.

5. Penguin or Giraffe?
Both. I love them both very much as I want to have baby rooms or the kids' playroom with penguins, giraffes and elephants.

6. What type of vehicle do you drive?
Dodge Intrepid, though the parents think it could die any time. Need a new vehicle.

7. Would you lick a battery if your life depended on it?
Well, since it doesn't say the voltage of the batter, then sure. Why not? As most the low end batteries don't really cause any damage.

8. When do you like to write - in the morning, in the afternoon, evening?
Evening is my prefered as I'm usually sleeping in the morning but afternoon works too.

9. Which do you like more - Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter. I am on it all the time but I rarely sign onto facebook.

10. If you get hurt (like a scrape on the knee or break your arm), do you ask for a band aid?
Depends on the injury. If it's a decent type of cut then I ask for a band aid. If I break my arm, going to need a little more than a silly band aid. 

People who get this award... 
Ann Riley at Simple Life, Big Joy
Kristie Cook at http://www.kristiecook.com/
Tara at Midnight Ink

That is all. Now to go do some fiction writing. Maybe.