Thursday, July 29, 2010

In My Mailbox



First time calling it this, but here is what was in my mailbox today. I received a book, signed, and am excited.


The book: Promise by Kristie Cook


About the book, taken from the author's web site: "When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can’t be real, she decides it’s time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family’s secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her fa├žade of normalcy…until she discovers he’s not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel.

Their union brings hope and promise to her family’s secret society, the Angels’ army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy – Satan’s minions and Tristan’s creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell."



The release party over at her blog, http://www.kristiecook.com/ is almost done and has been a good time. I look forward to reading the book in the future. I'd start right now but I have two stacks of books I've purchased in the past 5 months that still need read. Plus, I'm not sure how I feel yet about reading books with similarities to my own works in progress. Not that our books are all that similar. Hers is much more epic, in length and plot. The characters sound fun but are female/male with a first person pov story from Alexis' FMC perspective (I think). Whereas I have an angel//demon paranormal romance that is a stand alone, with the plot sticking to the relationship between a male angel and a male demon. Yay m/m. lol... It's also third person, with changing POV between 2 main characters. 

But the thing is, I don't know if I want to read any angel//demon novels while writing the draft. Some people have no problem reading books in their genre, type, while writing and are okay with any influences from it. Others want to avoid influence of other people's novels, and wait to read similar books until they are in breaks or done writing.

Not sure where I fall yet.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ideas for the Future


I have a few ideas that I want to implement in the near future for this blog. And instead of doing a random blog post about a topic I picked out from my list involving writing, I've decided to discuss the ideas I have. When they will all get implemented, I don't know. Some require research and contacting various people, which will take time (and courage).

First, the ones that readers may know.

Published Author Interviews, and in relation, Blog Tour Participation.  I have a list of 9 authors recommended by readers of this blog, with at least three as slim chances, but I'm going to eventually email them all. My goal for this is to send out emails to 4 of them at the beginning of August. But I need to come up with more questions since not many were offered in a previous blog post. As for the extra part, the blog tour participation, I need to send out an interview to a children's book author for her blog tour. The post will be up on my blog on August 21st.  I may open my blog up for other future blog tours, but it's hard to tell if anyone would be interest just yet.

New ideas:

Another idea I have but am nervous about following through on is an Industry Highlight topic. I'd pick a publisher, agent, etc to discuss (or will check out ones recommended to me). The information given would include links, along with data found on their web pages. I might even attempt interviews with them as well, asking a few questions but for that I'll need questions to ask. Not sure how I'll do the posts, but I hope to figure something out soon. I have a first publisher in mind already.

Finally, I'm thinking of doing theme weeks. Not every week,  but it would help give the blog some structure without forcing a strict schedule. Themes could be anything... genres and subgenres, the undead, romance storylines, character types, editing, etc.

I have my email contact now available on the side bar, but might add more information or list reasons people can contact me for. We'll see.


On another note: I doubt anyone pays attention but lookie at my "novels" text in the side bar. Angel//Demon novel, thanks to writing this month, has reached over 30k. Tattle Tell second draft, as of now, has over 21,000 words. I am making progress!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Alpha or Beta Readers

                                         Alpha                                            Beta


I've noticed a few people discussing this topic on their blogs, usually in praise of their alpha or beta readers. I thought it'd be a good topic to discuss since I also noticed that in some commentes people were unsure as to the difference between the two. While, I have neither, I did a little reading online to prepare for this post.


Alpha Reader

This one I actually found two different definitions. There was one site that explained the writer is the alpha, because they are the first ones since it is their story. However, that's not the version we're going to consider. In this case, let's consider the readers as someone who is not the writer.

An alpha reader is the reader who sees the rough draft of the book first. Often, they will get single chapters or small groups of chapters as soon as they've been written. This makes their critique a little different than the beta. Most writers send their work to an alpha to consider the story overall. They don't want a line edit and rarely will ask for comments about punctuation and grammar. It's a first, or maybe second, draft so while there will be editing needs later, that is not what is needed here. Instead, the reader will discuss plot issues, character problems and also do some cheerleading (encouraging the writer to keep going). Sometimes the alpha reader can look at an unfinished chapter or provide feedback to help the writer get through a road block, if they are stuck in the story.

Not everyone has an alpha reader, or three. Some people are not comfortable with anyone seeing the first or second draft of their novel. Some have a hard time finding someone they are comfortable with. It's not for everyone, but it's something to at least consider. While, it's never a good idea to have someone who only sees roses in first drafts, it does help to have encouragement.


Beta Readers

These are a little more known. The beta reader, sometimes a critique group, has a variety of roles. Most require that the book not only be finished, but also they prefer it not be in first draft. Some people many accept first drafts as a beta, however, usually the reader expects some editing and such before the work gets sent to them. Beta readers will look at both big and small issues. They can critique character, plot, whether there are inconsistencies in setting/character, holes in story, promises made and not followed through,  grammar, and other line by line editing suggestions. Not every beta reader will give the same type of critique. Also, while they will discuss some of the good things they like about the story, the goal is to have a reader who is completely honest. One who is willing to point out problems and say "hey, this does not work for me."

From what I've read so far, most people talk about this type of reader. They recommend that writers have at least one beta reader. While some manage fine on their own, writing/rewriting/editing, there is something a reader can bring to the table. The writer can't get completely away from their own story and the reader is bound to have a different "reader response" to the story. (Yep. I took a lit criticism class and the main thing I got from it was the reader response critique.)



Overview

The main differences between the two is the type of draft read and the type of critique given. Alpha readers will look at novels in first draft, while they are being written and the Beta readers take revised, already finished drafts. Alpha readers look at the big picture, can help through roadblocks, and poke at the writer to get more done so they can keep reading. Beta readers put on the hard hats and wield the red pens. They check for all kinds of problems, while still doing some encouragement, with the later drafts in order to help the writer make it the best story possible.


Tip
Know what kind of critique you are looking for and let the reader know

When I was in a critique group, I was new to all this. I had no finished first drafts, and then one finished nanowrimo first draft but no rewrites. So, I was submitting to the group barely edited chapters. What I didn't know is this: I wanted an alpha reader critique with just the overall story and character issues. Instead, I was getting the beta reader critique as the group members were good at noticing the smaller issues with the work. So, learn from this. If you don't want grammar and spelling comments, then let them know when you give them the story. Sure, it's its so bad they can't get to the story then they will comment anyways, but for a semi-edited draft, it shouldn't be so bad. If you don't tell them what type of critique you want, then you'll get whatever they send because they don't know if it's what you want/need or not.


Confession

Even though I don't have a reader right now, I would love to have an alpha reader. I'm on my first rewrite ever and thus not ready at this point for a beta. But I have an issue with finding one I'm comfortable with sending my work too. I have a minor issue with having a reader I don't know at all. I don't mind if it's not a friend per say, but I'd like to know them a little bit first. On the other hand, the other offer I've gotten is from my sister. While I appreciate her offer, and it would work with 1 novel, overall I want someone who can read a variety of novels. Sister reads YA, which I don't usually write. Also, she's not keen on homosexual main characters, which is almost all I write. Since most of my work is adult gay stories, I know that I can't send most to her. So, I'm left with no one right now. I hope to at least find a beta, since I want to submit some time in 2011 to agents. But the longer it takes to finish drafts and find someone to read it over, the longer it will be before I send out.

Maybe in a future post I'll gush about a reader I've found. But for now, I just have this post.


What about you?
Do you have an alpha or beta reader?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Boy Book versus Girl Book


Welcome to my post. It's going to be a bit of a ramble but that's okay. It was until I started watching the chats on twitter for yalitchat and askagent that I heard the topic of boy books. Some talk about how there need to be more boy books in YA, while others have posted their own opinions on the boy book topic in their blogs or on twitter. Here is a good example of the topic: The Boy Problem

So, I've decided to add my opinion and discuss some differences between "boy books" and "girl books". I could be wrong on some of it, but that's why it's my opinion and not fact. I'm going to discuss a few different elements that can distinguish the two types from each other. They are main character, book cover, and content (aka story/plot).


Main Character
While this isn't always the case, some times the gender of the main character is part of what makes a book appeal to boys or to girls. In the discussion on yalitchat, for example, boy books are often described as having boy main characters. Now, I haven't done the research but I'm sure there are some boys that read girl main character books. But sometimes it's understandable to want to read about characters that they relate to easier (boys). When I was in junior high most of my personal reading had female main characters because I could relate to them (characters like Alanna and Juniper). But I also read books with male main characters, such as The Giver(Loved It), The Outsiders, and Amee-Nah. Then I switched to mostly adult fantasy for high school, with more often than not, male main characters. Cause I like elves and mages. But let's consider the main character's gender as a possible portion of the Boy Book/Girl Book discussion. I'm going to do this by sharing books I'd read in junior high/high school, though some may be from 6th grade.

Girl Main Character Books: Katherine Called Birdy, Juniper, Wisechild, Alanna series(Tamora Pierce, Daine series(Tamore Pierce), Julie of the Wolves, The Midwife's Apprentice, Flowers in the Attic.

Of Two Minds has a male pov but it's about the girl and her world created from her gift(and her mind).
Juniper Game is from male as well, and he focuses on Juniper and the telepathic game she's using him and his drawing skills for so it reads like a girl book, or from what I can remember. Still a great book.

Boy Main Character Books: The Giver, Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders, A Separate Peace, The Wheel of Times (books 1-3), Dragonlance (Autumn, Winter, Spring), Street Lawyer, The Testament.

Most of the boy ones were either assigned at school, or not YA. *shrugs* Another thing to consider is how the character develops and what they go through. In Alanna's series, she's training to be a knight while in the start of the series hiding that she's a girl. One thing she goes through that many books don't talk about is menstruation, and that is something girls will relate to and boys won't. It's a good example of how some books, YA in particular, may have certain character developments/situations that are associated with one sex and not the other.


Book Cover
Consider the following 2 book covers. Both were bought on the same day from Waldenbooks in Casper, Wyoming. Both are from the Young Adult section of the book store. They are very different as is obvious by the covers. Would you consider one of these a boy book and one a girl book based on the cover? If so, which?  (Nothing against the authors. Both covers are neat in their own ways. I look forward to reading both books in the future.)

   Versus

Book 1 has a pretty cover. The girl is pretty and the red with the flowing and swirls, just awesome. Some might say "But boys like to look at girls and girls like to look at boys!" (Forgetting that stereotypes and leaves out certain orientations. But consider this. Look at a girl magazine. What has always amazed me, even as a girl with an ex-girlfriend, is how many pictures of females are in those magazines. But that's a little off track. The cover in general, is a bit girlish (though not in the glittery pink laden kind of way, thank the penguins!).  If I had to judge the book by the cover (Yes, people do judge books by their covers), then I would say this is potentially (unverified but possible) a girl book.

Book 2 has explosions and a guy running. It says "hi, I have action, read me". Okay, I don't normally read action adventure unless there are fantasy elements or maybe sci-fi, though I prefer fantasy. But this book caught my attention and made me curious. Also, it looks (to me) like a boy book. I mean, Title in big letters with hug clouds of smoke behind them that are probably from an explosion. Almost leans into stereotypical boy book. A boy should have no problem picking up this book and having others see the purchase (for those that are self-conscious and such over books they are seen purchasing). And it has a male main character shown on the cover.


Content aka Plot (and Genre)

The story is the main factor as to what counts as a boy or girl book, in my mind. While the cover affects what people buy, the actual reading is the big event of the whole situation. Although it is possible, more often if the focus of the plot is a romance, it's going to be a girl book. Not usually the type of girl book that I'd read since I'm more for girl saving world or discovering herself with maybe a minor plot of romance. But still, romance is the well known topic in books that is deemed for girls. Boys can take it, but there are other plots that should be important (so I've heard). The truth is the content can be a bit mixed when it comes to boy or girl books. My best friend from high school, who is female, loved listening to Stephen King (it's hard to find fiction books in braille). Not YA, but the point of bringing that up is that certain types, such as horror, may be seen as more an interest to one gender but the readers will vary. Science fiction used to be stereotyped as a more male dominant genre for males, particularly the socially awkward ones.

Okay. Enough rambling for one post. On to some questions...

What do you think about the difference between boy books and girl books?
Do you consider whether your books are geared towards males or females?

My personal question on the topic: Can gay boy books count as boy books, or are they just considered gay books? (If the plot isn't about their sexual orientation.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Need Questions 4 Interviews

Howdy.

For those that might remember, but that's probably not too many... A few months ago, I posted a blog about how I wanted to interview published authors for this blog occasionally. I had people comment on which authors they would like to see. Again, I am asking for my wonderful followers to comment, but this time I need help on questions.  I haven't even asked authors if I could interview them yet, except have one children's book author scheduled for August, because I don't know what to ask anyone. There are so many questions, and often times the questions are overdone and as an interviewer you don't want to bore the person or annoy by asking the most obvious questions over and over and over... and over.

 


In a comment, post quesitons you would ask authors and I will appreciate you long time. *giggles*

I need this:

General writing questions.
General editing questions.
General publishing questions.
Genre Specific questions - YA, Children's, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, UF, etc...

The specific book questions either I'll figure out myself as I try to read a book by the author before doing an interview when I can (which will be less common once I get going since I'm so slow and have so many offered I've never read before). Or, I'll post on Twitter under "DawnEmbers" for people to suggest questions for me to ask specific authors at the time.


Anyone who offers questions, I pre-emptively must say: Thank You.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Exceptions

Another trip out of town, stopping at a bookstore, has given me an idea for a blog post. While I have way too many books to read (smaller than some, yes I know if you have a 100+ list), I still bought 2 books. The first book I bought took some time. I wasn't going to buy it yet because it's going to be awhile before I get around to it out of the read pile, but eventually changed my mind. That book is The Hunger Games. Yeah, I know... I've been told by certain people (and you know who you are) about how I must read this book. Blah blah blah. I bought it and it's in the pile. The other book is the reason for this post. I bought a hardback copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I am an anti-hardback person but for this book I made an exception to that rule.



Why did I make an exception for this particular book? Aside from the fact that it sounds like a great book that I've seen discussed on twitter... I have read one book by one of the authors. The book I've read is Boy Meets Boy, which is a cute little book with, and get this, gay main character! Yep. One of the Will Grayson characters, according to the information on the book, is gay. That is enough reason for me since it's hard to find books like that without doing a fair amount of research ahead of time. Since I write books with gay main characters, I need to read books that are like mine but published. So, I made an exception because like writing rules, reading rules can and will be broken.

While there are a number of rules that deal with writing and publishing a book, there are also exceptions to most (if not all). If you didn't see it, here is my entry for the blogfest about breaking the rules where I discuss some of the rules first. http://dawnembers.blogspot.com/2010/06/break-rules.html
Another post on writing rules can be found here: http://dawnembers.blogspot.com/2010/03/rules-of-writing.html

Sure, most of the time it might be a good idea to not start by talking about the weather. And not every book should start with dialogue. Some prologues aren't necessary for certain novels and present tense may not work in different cases.

But there are exceptions.

While, there are exceptions, on the other hand, don't take them for granted. Sure, I bought a hardcover book but next time I'm at the store, the no hardcover rule will still be in place and if I purchase books, they will be paperback. Because an exception is an occasional phenomenon, not a regular occurrence.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Epicness and Extinction

 From pix.motivatedphotos.com
Yes. It bugs me that it says "character" instead of "characters"...

So, I was thinking about plot lines and epicness last night, which made me come up with this topic. First, I'm gonna be a bit geeky (or nerdy, I don't really know or research the difference, *shrugs*) and talk about extinction.

 For a number of years, in college, I competed in policy debate. It was a way to get a scholarship and I, in some ways enjoyed the activity as it has helped me learn much about research and communication. Granted, I wasn't very good at policy debate but it did take up a few years of my life. The truth is, the activity is one of those that require a love-hate relationship, but I won't be talking about that here. As a policy debater, one thing I learned the most about was Extinction. Yep, in the realm of policy debate it is always "the end of the world as we know it"! It's kind of depressing really, to talk about different ways we're all going to die for hours on end. But it was for a reason.

One way to win a debate round is to focus on the harms and solving for those with the case, or neg position depending on side. The bigger the harm, the greater the solvency, the better chance of winning. So, sure it's great to have a policy case that solves for the threat of 1 million potential deaths, but what's even greater is if your plan can be a heroic win(not really but kinda) against the threat of extinction. Having the other team keep us from becoming extinct is then hard to beat. And there are a number of ways that could lead to extinction. I've heard at least 50 different types of situations that would lead to the end of life as we know it. Weirdest one was homophobia. Some team was reading evidence (cause debate requires cited evidence) about how homophobia would lead to extinction. (Which, even as a gay debater, I didn't buy it.) It got to the point where I did research for evidence that says extinction is good. And yes, I did find evidence.

It has gotten to the point where some teams try to use more than one extinction scenario in order to win. A team had a card with 5 different extinction scenarios and would say that it was worse than a case with only 1. Problem was, from what I read, 4 of the scenarios were based on the first occurring. But an even bigger problem is, you can't die more than once (unless you go the zombie route, then you have to figure how much land mass is there in cases like nuclear fallout and such, for the zombies to exist on and such). So, there were some debates where I would just "You can only die once" and even (paraphrased) "Both sides have evidence that there will be extinction. So, if you go with the neg, you'll die. If you go with the affirmative, you'll die. Either way we're all screwed, so let's look at this debate this way..." If I wanted to, I could probably write books where extinction was a part of the plot, which brings me to the topic I'm sure you're more interested in reading.

What does this have to do with writing?

What it made me think about is this: Does a plot have to be epic? Sure it looks really cool to have huge battles and the main character save the world from extinction while falling in love, protecting their family who is in jeopardy and making really hard decisions. But do many people really write epic plots, such as extinction? Or are the plots smaller, but seem epic to the main characters because they interrupt the character's world, or way of life?

Is your plot one of epicness?

Most of my plots aren't very epic. Well, they are big to the main character maybe, but overall they are not end of the world plots. More often than not it's not a save the world, or even save 100 people storyline. Here is a breakdown of a few plots I have going and some mentions of the rare epic plots I have, but am not writing at the moment.

The individual mutant books are not epic. The overall series makes it somewhat epic since it's a big revolution that has certain points that are reflections upon group movements in real life. But the individual books aren't always big. Tattle Tell is the first book of the YA section and it's about a boy who doesn't have many friends and is tired of being a tattle tale. Not very epic. Standing Ground is an adult mutant book that is a little bigger in risk, but the main character doesn't fight the villain to save a city or country. He fights the guy to save 3 people (father, brother, boyfriend) and maybe some other mutants but it's not 100 percent when he goes on the adventure that he has the other ones captive.

Angel//Demon sounds like it could have an epic plot, but it doesn't. I've recently decided that the main genre is paranormal romance instead of calling it paranoral romance/urban fantasy. It is located in a city but the focus is on the relationship that the two main characters have and whether they'll be able to stay together.

The mystery novel is about solving a murder case, which is a bit high profile since it's a rich old man that dies but again, not epic.

With the novels I'm writing about (including Sekrit Novel but no details here) not having epic plots, I then questioned myself. Is any of my writing epic in plot? And I came up with 2.

Blood Prophesy series is an epic by accident. I had a two book idea in the beginning. Sure, the finding of the prophet in book one was going to be a big deal but it wasn't of epic proportions. Then it became more than two books and a war of epicness.

Next is the epic fantasy. Yep, by nature of the genre, the series is epic. I haven't worked on it much even though it's one of my oldest ideas. It was my first idea, though it started of historical fiction meets sci-fi and later became fantasy. But the story line hasn't changed in the last 4 years. I'd love to work on it but this is the story that intimidates me the most.


What about you? Do you go for epic plots?
Do you prefer to read epic plots or have small tensions that are big to the main character?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tales From The Sideline

Time for another blogfest and lots of talking beforehand. Okay, not as much talking cause it's after 1 am, I took a long time to pick a scene and had to find a new template, then reconfigure template to make it work. But isn't it pretty?

I liked the idea of the blogfest from the moment I heard about it. While the main character is the focus of the story, there are many characters on the side who have their own tales, and given the right angle they could become the main character. They are the hero of their own lives, or so one would hope. So, I was happy to sign up for the blogfest and looked forward to writing something. Then I had homework and didn't know what to write. Thus my current state of affairs. *yawns*

Let's talk a little about side characters. Then I'll get to the blogfest details and my entry. Who is a character from the "sideline"?

This can be a variety of characters. The best friend is a common one. They are a part of the tale, often in many different scenes, but they are not the focus. They can help or hinder the main character, depending on the situation, and in some situations can be secondary characters (just below the main character in status). Other ones include parents (particularly in YA), other family, bosses, employees, clients, homeless man on street, store clerks, and I hope you're getting the picture. Basically, they are often characters that are a part of the story, but a smallish part, and they can be insignificant or significant depending on the character. It is the secondary, or third or whatever place well below main, that doesn't get to be the point of view.

Point of view is important. While many books nowadays, or at least the way my old critique group saw things, there is a single point of view in both first and third person narratives. There are many books out there that have more than one point of view, but in the opinion of some there should be one. Or at least it should be limited. The character on the sideline is seen at some point by the reader but they don't see the scene through there eyes.

But times are changing, at least for one day. And that is today!

Tales from the Sideline Blogfest
Hosted by Cheree Smith at Justified Lunacy
Main rule to follow: "On Thursday July 8, post a short excert that stars a minor character. Try to keep the posts to under 1,000 words if possible."

I was going to post something from a past blogfest but written from a sideline character's perspective but couldn't pick one and that would take too much work. And I didn't want to post yest another blogfest entry from Angel//Demon and even the mutant ones are getting a little iffy. So, I struggled to make this decision but then I found the start of a romance/erotica that I work on one scene at a time. This section is from the beginning and part of the ending of my very first erotica story ever. No worries, no sex will be shown here. I wanted to write from Thomas' point of view but in a couple of spots Kyle took over. So, this is from the point of view of the new love interest... well, love might be strong at this point. Will be love in the future but ummm, I don't know what to call him in this scene. This is the morning after their first night, and Thomas' boyfriend has returned (open relationship) and is having a fit over finding a younger guy with "his man."

Warning: just an fyi but slight language usage that is more adult than my usual. I'm sure most won't care but I'm using this as my safety net. If you don't like any language used here, I warned you. ;-)

Novel: Untitled
Short Story: Halloween Without Him

Chris stared at Thomas, not giving his attention to Kyle at this point. "I can't believe you are taking his side over mine. Why are you being a bitch?"

Kyle stood with his mouth open. The sheer rude nature of the man was upsetting enough but for him to talk to Thomas like that, was too much. He took a step forward while pondering his options, unsure of what to do. His body pushed up against Thomas but he didn't go too far as just the touch delivered another glare in his direction. He wanted to bitchslap Chris but couldn't with Thomas in the way.

Thomas looked down at the ground. "I think you should leave."

"Yeah, leave." Chris snapped at Kyle.

"Actually," Thomas looked up again. "I was talking to you."

"How.. why.." Chris stumbled back, almost running into a bar stool. "But I live here."

Thomas shook his head. "Not quite. The lease is in my name. I'll let you keep your stuff here until you find somewhere else to live but we're over."

After a few minutes of standing in angered silence, Chris stormed off.

Kyle had a hard time containing his glee. The look on Chris' face just added to it. Under other circumstances, he would have felt guilt over breaking up a relationship, but he was proud of Thomas. He watched as Thomas moved into the kitchen again to grab a cup of coffee. Unable to tell if he needed comforting, he shifted his weight from one foot to the next as he watched Thomas begin to drink the hot liquid. Deciding to wait for Chris to leave, Kyle sat down to finish his own cup.

Chris stopped at the opening of the kitchen hauling a poorly packed suitcase. "Well, umm, I guess I'm going to leave."

"Okay." Thomas said without looking at him.

Once he was out of the house, Kyle set his cup down. He walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around Thomas, squeezing his midsection while resting his head on his chest. He listened to him breathe, slow and steady, before asking, "Are you okay?"

The response was simple. "I don't know."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Announcements

Hi there. Just thought I'd mention a couple of things and let everyone know what's going on. There are many blog followers and a blogfest idea that I'm finally going to announce. Yay me.

First, about my writing. Going well, even though I still don't know which book is gonna be the better one to go with first. For more on that check out my other blog over at http://itsinthebookde.blogspot.com and see the inspiration posts that are going to be up every monday. I've written a few thousand words already for July, so I'm off to a good start.

Followers:

Yep. You all get to be bolded in this entry cause I have almost 100 followers. I may have 100 when I get this post done but it's hard to predict at this point and I'll take a couple hours to write this before it gets posted. But probably not. Hard to believe that many people follow this blog. I feel honored, even if most don't comment, and by most I mean 90+. lol It's really okay. Given that my 50 follower giveaway didn't have much response, I've decided to wait on the next giveaway. Instead of basing it off how many people are following the blog, I'm going to host a giveaway when I have more people posting comments on a consistent basis. So, instead of having a giveaway I'm gonna go the route of a blogfest.


Blogfest Time!!!

I've been meaning to announce this for awhile, but I've been planning to do this blogfest for the last few weeks. This blogfest is inspired by a book on writing that I have glanced at a few times. I haven't read it all but it's an aspect of writing that I need to work on, for sure. The book is Word Paint: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan. According to the book:


"Like painters, writers are the receptors of sensations from the real world and the world of the imagination, and effective description demands we sharpen our instruments of perception."


"Description is an attempt to present as directly as possible the qualities of a person, place, object or event. When we describe, we make impressions, attempting through language to represent reality. Description is, in effect, word painting."


So, why am I talking about this book on description? It's the point of the blogfest and the reason for the name. (If anyone wants to do an image thing that can link to the blogfest, I'd really appreciate it. I suck at doing that kind of stuff on the computer. Yes, I have a major including art but I still can't do that kind of stuff. I paint. :-P) As the date approaches I'll post some entries about writing description, using the senses and post links to other awesome bloggers viewpoints on the same topic. Then, on the date given below, I'll post my entry and comment on everyone's entries in the blogfest.


The Blogfest = Word Paint Blogfest on August 27th



What will happen is this: Those that enter this blogfest will post on the given date a smallish scene that is very descriptive. Go to town with the description. Overdo it if you want. Just try to avoid cliches and if you post an entry that has 1,000 words or so the chances of me reading the whole thing is slim. But more on that in the rules. Basically, write a scene using "word paint" to make the scene visible to the reader.


Rules:
1. sign up in the linky option down below. Sign up on or before August 27th, though it's easier if you sign up before the last few hours of the blogfest day, just saying...
2. post your word painted entry on August 27th(a day before is okay too). It's nice to post if you sign up cause it feels like a trick to get people to visit your blog. Yeah, I said it! *points to "it's" cause it has "it" in umm it... lol.
3. Word count should be less than 500 though a little over isn't so bad. The problem with long entries has to do in part with the formatting of the blogs. With three columns it's even worse than two but both have the smallish width that makes the entry seem even longer.
4. Link back to the blogfest (aka My Blog) so your viewers can read the other entries if they want.







Thursday, July 1, 2010

Share Your Darling or When to Delete

1. When to Delete

Yes, I'm going out of order because I want the blogfest to be at the bottom of the post and for some odd reason it decided to come first in the title. But I digress. There are times in the rewrite/edit processes where this situation will occur. The scene or chapter may be terrible but the harder time is when there is a scene or chapter is great but... it doesn't serve the story in another way aside from the prettiness (aka awesomeness for those that want a less femme terminology). When that situation occurs it's time to break out the metaphorical scissors and do some cutting. Get rid of the thing and then go lick the wounds in the writing body from the loss. Or something like that.

How does it start? First, it helps to have a finished draft (though for those of you that edit and rewrite along the way, that isn't necessary for you). But it's hard to cut something that isn't written. Just saying...

Then, either you or someone else notices that while the scene/chapter is good, it doesn't help the plot, is extra, and may need cut.

Writer's job is to decide whether to cut that scene/chapter or not. No matter how many crit partners and beta readers ask about the scene, in the end it's the writer who makes that decision. But don't just hit the delete. There are a few options.
a. don't add it in the new draft. This works for the writer that uses a new document or web page or whatever new to write the next draft of the novel.
b. cut and paste. Put the scene/chapter in a different document in case a later draft actually requires the scene to be added back into the novel because you never know. Or it can be expanded or edited as a short story/flash fiction piece.
c. keep it in for now. Sometimes it can wait for the next edit if it's that early on in the process.
d. if daring enough, highlight and press the delete button. Use this method carefully.


It's not an easy decision but it's one most writers will face at different points in their careers. Good luck when you have to make that decision. Now, onto the blogfest.


2. Share Your Darlings Blogfest
The host is Michelle Gregory at the blog, beautiful chaos so make sure to go to the blog and check out the other entries. There will be a good number of posts showcasing people's "darlings". Here are the "rules" posted by the host on the aforementioned blog:
"Pick a favorite scene that you deleted or used. Either one is ok. (We don't want to miss out on brilliant prose just because you decided to go against your crit partners' advice and use it instead of cutting it.)" There are more rules like sign up, post link to blog and a word count (which got changed but I hope not many people post over 600 words cause it's hard to read them with the blog layouts).



The Novel: Ephram's Defiance, now Tattle Tell
This is the rewritten version of the prologue that I then decided to kill it. I liked the idea of the prologue giving some explanation of the reason for the genetic mutation. The first version wasn't bad as it fit the tone of the first person pov of the novel and gave some but not a complete explanation. I may post the first draft prologue in a blog post about prologues, but no promises. By the second draft I had a better idea as to what caused the mutations to some degree. However, while I think the second draft is better, the prologue doesn't fit the tone of the novel at all and I think the book is better off starting with chapter one, despite breaking the "don't start with dialogue" rule. lol

And yes, the tense is very confusing. I think it switches between past and present for no apparent reason but I'm too lazy to edit this version for the blogfest.

Excerpt:

It started with a cure.

The cure wasn't the exact beginning for there had been a slow, natural process of evolution thousands of years ago. Instead, it merely sparked an avalanche of genetic changes. First snowball dropped was cancer. Then the flu and HIV cures followed suit adding to the lifespan of humans by a few years but not many.

After years of hidden development, the first hints of change began to appear in public. Political distress and the overwhelming clouds of nuclear threats held societal attention away from the miracles that science had managed to pull off despite all odds. The changes were small at first and it wasn't until the first outbreak of bombings, that any showed a potential threat to security. Then came the fear.

Government responded to the people's concerns by hiring scientists to contour and control the changes that only a small portion of the population was experiencing. It took time but eventually they caught up with the changes and were able to control the mutants. Organizations were created for the use of the mutations, as well as, the control of those whose genetic makeup had drifted from the normal dna pool. The break through in national security, in the minds of the non-mutants, was the metallic bracelets that could suppress a person's mutation, keeping them from using it in any way. That was the only real restraint they managed to come up with so far, not that they aren't trying to find better ways. But now they had control.

That was to be the way of life for the next several years, our way of life. We never asked to be different, to have these abilities. We're born this way and no matter what happens, no one will take it away from us.