Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Many Blog Awards

Okay. I'm very behind in all the awards that I've been given by a few close friends who also have blogs. The reason I don't post them every time I get one is because I want most of the blog posts to be on topic of writing, and those posts take up space if done one at a time. Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate any award that someone wants to give this blog. I appreciate every follower, award, reference and blog comment that I get, really I do. I just want to keep most of the posts on topic and streamlined to have this be a somewhat professional writing blog.  So on to the ones I've missed the past couple of months.

Sunshine Award - given to me from Harley

Only rule is to nominate this to 12 people. Yeah, I have to know 12 people with blogs. Okay, I follow like 60 blogs but some I don't know the people very well yet at all. Not to mention, half the people I'd give them too, Harley, who gave me the award also gave it to them already. Only going to give some out, not all 12.
1) Ashy because her WDC username is sunshine. 2) dragonfish - another pal from WDC.
3) Frankie WDC and Twitter pal.  4) Mireyah WDC, Twitter friend.
5) Karen Amanda Hooper I like her blog title involving Moonshine.
6) Kiersten Sunshine for hope the ARC's arrive. 7) Tara WDC and Twitter friend.
8) Kristi Mousey from WDC.

Seven Truths - also given to me by Harley

Rules: Tell 7 truths about myself and then pass it on to 7 people.
1) likes the numbers 7 and 567 2) love cats
3) hates waiting to have kids but know it's for the better
4) trying to lose weight 5) terrible at chemistry and statistics
6) like brownies and making frosting 7) bakes good bread

7 People
1) angelica (dragonfish) 2) Frankie 3) Melanie Golden 4) Tara
5) J.D. Brown 6) Addison 7) Kristi Mousey

Creative Writer Award - thanks to Harley also
1.) Thank the person who gave this to you. 2.) Copy and Paste the award on blog.
3.) Link to the person who nominated you. 4.) Tell up to 6 lies and 1 truth.
5.) Tag at least 7 people for this award. 6.) Post links to their blogs.
7.) Comment on each of their blogs to inform them of the nomination.

Can you find the 1 truth in the sea of lies?
1) raised on a ranch in wyoming. 2) hate my real name, thus the pen name.
3) exercise on a regular basis. 4) not one to procrastinate.
5) insists on querying agents first instead of a publisher 6) never wants to get married
7) prefer female main characters when reading.

1) Ashy  2) Frankie 3) Mireyah 4) Melanie Golden 5) Tara
6) J.D. Brown 7)Addison

Silver Lining - Given to me by my wdc twin, Ashelynn, and Harley
Only rule for this one is to pass it on to other blogs.
People that get this award from me:
dragonfish (angelica)AshyMireyah : Kiersten : J.D. Brown : Kristi Mousey

Sunday, March 28, 2010


A common rule in writing is Avoid Stereotypes.
While this is true to the small extent, I don't think it's 100 percent true. Don't avoid every single stereotype.

What are stereotypes?
"A stereotype is a label given to a person, a prequisite judgement." Definition number four from Urban Dictionary.
The web site also has a few examples but here is another web site for some more examples of different stereotypes: Common Stereotypes
A few examples from both sites:
Asians are good at math.
Irish people drink a lot.
Goth has to have black makeup, hair and be depressed.
Mormons are polygamists.
Gay men are femmes.
Gay women work at Home Depot.

Now, you might be wondering why I'm against the well known rule of no stereotypes. The truth is, everyone fits some stereotypes, the real issue is to not go overboard. Most people won't fit all the stereotypes but they might fit some. Even I fit into some stereotypes. Plus, the variety of stereotypes and non-stereotypes makes characters interesting. It's good to have a variety when it comes to the details of a single character, and when it comes to the overall cast of the novel, as well.

Me for example: I am from Wyoming. Don't have a farm/ranch, never been on a cattle drive, but I did take my first steps as a small child on a ranch. My dad was raised on the ranch. I date both men and women. I'm very monogamist, don't date both at the same time at all, but I did work at Home Depot not long after dating a woman. I was the femme in the relationship.

But let's look at someone aside from me. Consider gay stereotypes. Since these are the characters I write, and the people I've had a good amount of exposure too, both teens and adults, it's one I can talk about here. I volunteered with gay teens, ran a gay straight alliance club in college and took part in different events, including Pride, all while living in Utah.

Never met a gay man that had a lisp, or limp wrists. Did however, know a variety of males and females that fit within some of the stereotypes.
One of the funniest was a femme boy. He didn't like anyone messing with his hair, freaked out when he spilled something (particularly on his shirts), was a bit clutzy, very smart, loved shoes, had a female(asexual) best friend, and whenever he got excited he would speak really fast causing his voice to pitch up.
There was another teen boy who was anti-femme. They bugged him to no end and he would often rant about them to me (and yes, he was very gay himself). But he brings me to my next point...

People are contradictory.

How does this link to stereotypes? A person can fit a few stereotypes and have a few completely anti-elements as well. They don't have to make sense all the way because people are contradictory. The anti-femme gay teen is an example of that. He always talked about how he didn't like femme boys. Yet, who did he mess around with at one point? The femme boy.

The big issue with stereotypes is going too far. Don't use them all, intermix the stereotypes in with completely different elements, and a few contradictions and I'm going to bet you will have casts of very interesting characters.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where to Start?

An idea comes along, it could be a book, novella, short story or whatever. The kernel of inspiration is there but what next? Where do you start?

Here are a few options:

There are a few other options too. The main set of two, to choose from first is whether to do prep work (world building, outlining, etc) or to just write. In general, I do the latter. I write and worry about the other stuff later in the rewrite, edits. However, I've done prep work before nanowrimo in the past and know a few who do full world building before even figuring out the character that will experience the story. Either way, the method of the idea, what sparks the desire to write that one, can be one of the four sections mentioned above.

What comes first to you?

For me, it is character or a scene of the plot. Those are the top two. But what is the difference?

When character comes first, there is a person aka someone for the reader to become attached to and for the conflicts to occur. Without character the story would be hard to fall since it would just be about the events and the reader wouldn't see or feel what those events cause.  Some get their character first and the character can be one of the most important aspects of the story. Character driven is popular to say the least. However, sometimes when a random character comes to mind it can be difficult because without a plot then it's just reading about a person and their day to day routine, which is very boring. It's hard to write about a character and have no idea what to do with them in order to get a stroy.

The what if factor in the story. What happens? Some people do come up with these first and then figure the rest of the aspects out later. A close friend of mine does the world building, has the idea for the story and then finds characters to fit within the plot to make it work. I can't do this much. I need a character and then figure out the plot. It is good to have something happen, a conflict, but without a good character to experience the plot, it will also be difficult.

Like most of writing, what comes first is dependent on a number of things. Not everyone works the same. Some will spend years figuring out the world and then do the writing. Others will find the character and then write from their viewpoint to discover the plot. It's the type of situation in writing where the advice for success is to simply Do what works best for you.

What comes first for you?
Do you do prep work or begin writing at once?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rules of Writing

The all popular poster with the 12.5 rules of writing. It is around all over the place and even purchase-able on There are a variety of lists available on the internet. Usually, when I see a list of writing rules I shudder because it more often than not involves a bunch of things that I don't agree with. The poster has the most rules I've ever agreed with and here are the good ones:

1.  and 12.5. Write! Okay, it says something else on the first rule but the gist is similar. Writer's write, that is the big non-breakable rule. You can't be a writer if you don't write. And it is bound to get a bit better if you work on it, and write more.

6. This is one I agree with for the most part too. Read. There are times when writing should take precedence over reading but a writer should enjoy reading. I don't understand the people who say they love writing but they hate reading. It doesn't make sense to me. (Yes, I have met people on that say they don't read but they write.)

11. I like this one. Maybe it's because I do this. The erotica genre is one that I started a few years ago on a whim. I wanted just to see if I could do it. Several flash fiction, short stories, one novel and a started novella later, the attempt has proven worth it. Now, I'm trying mystery. It is fun to try something new, something you might not think you can do well.

Let's look at a different list, one that is harder to agree. This is a list on writing rules for epic fantasy. The funny part about this list is that I found it in two different places. One place gives it as a list of what not to do( and the other one gives it as a formula while talking about the different elements and why you shouldn't follow a formula(

Rules/Formula for Epic Fantasy
-Create a bunch of interesting non human characters like orcs, dragons, elves or dwarves of course your hero should be human or nearly human.
-Put them in a fantastical world filled with magic and secret places.
-Open up your novel with something exciting to get the reader hooked.
-Keep the action moving - insert a series of small obstacles that need to be overcome
foreshadow something really big that will happen (won't happen in this novel though -if it ever happens at all).
-Come up with two big things that will happen and when they are resolved they cancel each other out so the plot hasn't advanced at all.
-Make a big lead up to the next novel (promise the moon).
-Repeat steps 3-7 in the next novel.

If you don't recognize some of these then you probably don't write epic fantasy. However, some can go to other types of books. The funny part about this list is that some of the rules make perfect sense while some others are not rules or even a template. Some of the rules to consider:

a. open your novel with something exciting... This is true to a certain sense. The novel should open with something that is going to hook the reader. People may open the book and read the first couple of paragraphs before even buying the book and if you don't grabe them then they won't buy it.

b. keep the action moving and promise the moon. This is true of both series and individual work. If nothing really happens then the plot doesn't move forward, people get bored and put the book down to never pick it up again. And promises are something that writer's are talking about more. The writer is making promises, or questions, throughout the book, but ones that they have to answer in order to not have the reader throwing the book against the wall in anguish.

Ones that are less followable from the epic fantasy list:

a. Non-human characters but with a human main character. It is obvious that some big fantasy books have these but it's also true to have non-human main characters or to have no non-human characters in an epic fantasy book.

b. Come up with two.. that are resolved and cancel each other out. I don't know all that much about pushing along a series and some might list a certain series with this (I still love said series so I don't care what people say on it), but it seems that each book should have a set of conflicts resolved but still have enough conflict for the overall series. And the number, 2, gives away the formula aspect which is not recommended to follow.

Those are just some of the many rules that have been put out on writing. Look them over, shrug, and then get back to writing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Books and PG Blogfest

A few things for this post.  I went to Cheyenne today and the Barnes and Noble located there. Stepdad loves books so we went together. It was kind of cool because a number of the books I've been seeing in blogs as giveaways and interviews were on the shelf. I browsed the YA section after noticing Hex Hall. Then found Hush, Hush, and Fallen. Also, saw three books about gay characters in the YA section. Two were by the same author and with the same characters but still. Good to find some at least. Considered buying one of the three books I'd seen on blogs but had two issues. 1.hardback. I prefer books to be paperback. 2. all are first person pov. I can get past number 2, but not for hardback copies. So, I'll wait if I ever see them in paperback. I went over to the regular fantasy/sci-fi section and saw And Falling, Fly in paperback.
Books I bought:
And Falling, Fly
Terry Brooks book on writing
Ray Bradbury book on writing - for blog giveaway
a nice blank page notebook with tree on cover - for blog giveaway

So, when my blog gets 50 followers, I have something to giveaway.
Now to the other topic.

So, I signed up for the pg/mg love scene blogfest not long after finding it posted in the blogworld. It seemed fun and more like something I could handle in comparison to the fight scene blogfest. But I have no understanding of pg/mg and even had to ask what mg was. So, even though I have a scene, I don't think it quite qualifies. I didn't understand what did, so went with whatever I wanted. I do not write under 16 having sex and won't. I have teen characters, but they don't have sex young. It's hard enough pulling off a gay scene that would be allowed for a younger audience, adding an even younger character would almost disqualify it at once. Not fair but right now, that's how things go. And I'm writing a novel with college age characters for MarNo. So, I used my Hero book which is not middle grade, or even YA. I focused on having the language so that it is possible to understand what is going on without being erotica graphic. With all that said... guess I should post the scene now. At leasst I tried.

Excerpt from "Hero":
Energy ebbed and flowed within Noah, swirling in choreographed dances that had been perfected over time. He kept most of it deep within and made sure the sparks that escaped didn't enter Bastian as they lay together, intertwined. The only sounds that filled the room was the labored breaths of the two and the occasional crack of a spark that sizzled in the air during brief seconds of excitement. Each movement, the gentle caressing of skin, and tender kisses pulled from desired lips tingled with bliss.

After almost an hour, Noah collapsed on the bed beside Bastian, exhausted. As he struggled to calm his breathing, he pushed the excess energy into a special stand he'd created. It was from an insulation material that would handle energy without causing a full on power shortage or a small fire. That done, he settled back and allowed himself to cuddle up closer to Bastian without fear of shocking him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Different Lengths

This is going to be an information based post about the different lengths in the industry with a few examples added. None of them are set in stone so you can quote me but there will be times this might be incorrect. Remember the numbers aren't exact.

First, overall story lengths. What makes something a short story, novella or a novel? That is the length, for the most part. So, here are some lengths to consider:

Flash Fiction - Under 1,000 words / Less than 5 pages in general
The smallest I've seen is 55 words and that's for a contest on and there is one online magazine that doesn only 55 word stories.
Example: Hunted by Dawn Embers (yep, me) from
Moonless night brings silence from hidden predators. Sight is limited to lily pads of light on sidewalk as sound echoes through graven trees.

She walks to her car with keys in hand but they won't save her.

The sun shall rise in the morning to expose a set of keys left on the gray sidewalk.
Exactly 55 words and that is all.

Short story - A bit more open to inerpretation. 1,000-7,500ish / 4-25 pages type of range
The short story tends to have one main plot point and not too many minor plots. The idea is to have the whole story within that short length and not give the feeling that there is much more to the story that isn't there yet. Any genre can be used for a short story. Anthologies tend to look for short stories or flash fiction as they allow the publication of many authors on a theme set. Magazines and online sources also have a preference for the shorter versions for rather obvious reasons.
Sci-Fi Anthology, volume 5
Aesop's Fables

Novelette - 7,500-17,500 / 25-60 pages roughly
The lesser known one. Some will have it go from short story to novella and skip this one.
In fact, this is one I don't know much about and isn't going to be common in some of the big name genres, such as fantasy. Romance is one that is known for the shorter lengths, for novellas in particular but might include the novelette. These used to be the mainstream, however, years ago in the fantasy, ya and sci-fi genres. Take a lit class and/or buy some classic authors books from the past and you'll notice the number of smaller books you'll get.
A Colder War by Charles Stross
Amazon search -

Novella - 17,500-40,000 (some view top at 50,000) / 60-130 pages-ish
Close to novel length but on the very short end. Common in romance, or at least that is the most known form. Used to be more common lengths for other genres but times are changing that. This has more than a short story with main plot and side plots but doesn't have enough to make a full novel, or the author doesn't want to add more to make it a novel. Some stories are just meant to be novellas and not full length novels.
Need I say more? lol

Novel - 50,000+ but not often to exceed 125,000. / roughly 133+ pages
There is some dispute over length. Source claims 40,000 as the minimum but I won't go with that here. This one is the most genre specific. While most can have short stories and flash fiction, the genres vary in what length they prefer for novels. Romance isn't keen on 100k novels, for that is a little too long for the genre. For that genre 50,000 might work but for, say fantasy, that would not be enough for most publishers. First time authors and those that have published before will also have different requirements. It's rare that a publishing will take the risk of a 125,000+ novel from a new author, while one that already is published might be able to sway such a count. So, it varies greatly.

Now, what is there besides novel? Well, I'm going to name one that people shouldn't forget when writing epic stories. That is: Series. If your story goes well over 150,000 words then you can still sell it. All you have to do is find a good place to divide the book into a series.  Some people do short stories series but that's rare. Most series are novellas or novels, with maybe a few novelettes. They can be epic series like Robert Jordan's one (don't leave comments on this series because everyone has their own opinions and in this post it doesn't matter) or the more common form of series, the trilogy. There are two book series and even four book, so it varies. And the word lengths for the books will vary but the overall count for the tale is epic!
look on barnes and noble or amazon and you'll see plenty

Remember, these aren't hard and fast rules. Look at the publisher's/agent's requirements to determine what they view the lengths and what they want.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WIP Titles

Titles are important, just like having a great book cover because, well... they are a part of the book cover and what draws the reader to the book. If a title catches my eye when I'm walking through the bookstore I will pull the book out to see what it's about. Sure, it won't make me buy it on that fact alone but it helps. But they aren't easy to come by, at least, not for me. During first drafts it is not as important to have the title picked but it bugs me when I don't have something. WIP titles are a little different than the end result title because there is no guarantee the title will hold through the varying drafts. In fact, it is more than likely the wip title will be changed at least once, if not more, during the writing progress. But how does someone choose a title?

There is one thing I don't like when it comes to titles and that is the "untitled" project. I have a degree in English, legal studies and art. Art is one of the places where people use the "untitled" the most and it bugs me to no end. I understand, as students and even artists, that it's not always easy to come up with a title for a project of piece of work but at least try. One or two projects left as "untitled" are okay. But there were displays in the gallery where single artists would have 10 or so items all with the title of "untitled". I mean, really? Don't be lazy people! "Untitled" does not count as a title for just any piece of work.

With that in mind, I try my best to have some form of title even for my WIP. None of my current novels are called "untitled" and I'm proud of that. Do they have real titles? lol I wish. Now, on to the real discussion of this post. My titles and how I came up with them. You'll see that most of them are just there to hold the place for a real title once one comes along.

How do I come up with titles?
For the most part, I don't. They just come to me, at least the really good ones do. Sometimes, I have a long thought process or other aspects that aid in the process but for the most part a title happens to jump me. The problem with this is it doesn't happen very often and so most of my work don't have set titles yet.

Blood Prophesy is a title that jumped me. It came to me out of the blue and I can't ever imagine it changing in the future. Maybe it will become the series title instead of the single book but either way, it will be a part of the projects title. Even that exact spelling. I had someone ask me why I spelled it "prophesy" when it should be "prophecy". There was no reason, that's just how I saw it but I did consider their concern. Then I looked up both version in the handy dictionary on my mac and both spellings are correct so it shall stay this way because I like it. One of the sequels is titled already as well.

Against All Evidence is another that probably won't change but it was one that took a little more thought. The title I first had is actually for the next book that follows the same detective. The second book title is Beyond Brotherly Love and I thought that the double B was interesting and something the books could have in common. So, I went with a double A for the first book and book three will have C's and it involves a clown serial killer. I went over a number of word combinations before I came up with AAE and that one sounded right.

Fallen is one that will not stay. The wip title was chosen for a specific reason. There was a contest I considered writing the novel for on where we chose a cd and the cd title would then be the novel title and each song had to have influence on each chapter in the exact order as it went on the cd. I choose Fallen by Evanescence for the angel//demon story because it made sense and the songs would have worked well. I'm not doing the music influence part anymore and the novel is now a double main character, but Fallen as the wip title has stuck. I kind of like it but know it won't stay and that it can't stay. Not only does it have the same title as someone else's recent publication, but it also gives too much away in my opinion. I don't want the climax and end to be obvious because there is no fun in that.

Hero is me being lazy. Yes, this is the novel that is getting the most attention right now. It has gained 20k words during this month already. However, that is not the title. Not one bit. Hero is more of a reference to the book than anything close to a title but I cannot think of something else to call it. The reason for hero is simply that there is a superhero society, it's the hero element of the mutant series, and the main character is a reluctant hero. It is my lamest one so far and I just hope that a wip title comes along because it needs something more real for a title.

Those are a few of my titles and how I came upon them. Now to get back to writing Hero and pondering a real title.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Easier to Write?

First, before going to the main topic, the results of the poll. I asked if anyone would be interested in receiveing more details on my current works in progress and received a total of 8 votes. Half were for the "absolutely" and the other half were for the more conservative yes, worded as "once in a while". So, the basic result was = Yes.  From 8 of 29 followers, it has been determined that I will post an occasional topic where I discuss a work in progress.  The rest of the time I'll either do just writing without linkage to my own work, or I'll mention my own work to explain what I mean. The next post on titles will include some talk of how I get some of my titles.

Today's topic: Are some things easier to write than others?


Do I know why? No. Well, maybe.

I am finding that with the variety of novel ideas I have, some seem to take a lot of time and effort in order for them to get done. On the other hand, a novel I didn't plan to write in 2010 and had only 3,000 ish words to it now is at 28,000+ words and I'm doing more tonight. So, what aspects makes it easier?

Character: Having a character that you really like and want to listen to is very helpful. Sure all of the characters have their moments where they just won't shut up, but that doesn't always equate to words on pages. But if you have a character that you don't mind fighting with at times and enjoy the journey of finding out their story it can make a real difference. However, if the character just won't talk or cooperate, that makes the book much more difficult to write.

Plot: It can be difficult when you don't know the full plot of the story. Sure, ever detail doesn't have to be known but if you have no idea where the book is going there could be problems. A lot of writing may occur in this situation but a lot of it may also be of no use after a rewrite once the main plot is known.  What is helpful for faster writing is in the plot interests you. Do you enjoy the storyline and where the book is going? Does it intrigue you, cause you to feel a plethora of emotions? If so, then that may help. Just remember: If you are bored writing it, then there is a good chance it will bore the reader too.

Incentives: I like incentives and goals. It doesn't even have to be something big like a vacation or a car. Just knowing you've reached that 50,000 word mark can be a great feeling. Or letting yourself get a song or a cd for getting certain amounts done, or even a book! (Imagine that. Getting a book for writing a book.) Goals can get a little depressing if you struggle to make them but it all depends on your attitude. You can view yourself as a failure and that will damper further work on it. Or, you can view it as a chance to keep trying, that any amount closer is more than you had before. Keep trying and keep writing.

Some novels will seem easy to write and others will be hard. But in the end you'll have the same thing: a finished novel.