Friday, June 4, 2010

Free Friday

I was thinking about dedicating a day to just ramblings and possibly rants and whatever I want to share that doesn't deal with the writing world.

And I think I will make that day Friday.

Today is Friday and although I already posted on writing today, I thought I would start my first Free Friday today as well.

Over the past week, school ended for the kids, a baseball game was rained out and my computer got some kind of major-super-mutant-type virus. And guess what????

It ate everything in it except our photos!!! EVERYTHING! And to make things worse....I really don't know if I should confess such a thing.....But........I didn't have any of my manuscripts backed up!

You're right....what WAS I thinking? I have no answer for you. Nothing. So, I was quite bummed about loosing all my work so far. Tons of research also.

I mourned the loss of it all then went out to catch a movie to celebrate the last day of school. (We watched Shrek 4 btw and I really liked it.)

We contacted Best Buy and they told my hubby that it would cost $200 for them to attempt to fix it........ouch!

I just decided to give up on it. Forget it....why was I trying to be a writer anyway. It's all gone. Too much work to start over...maybe one day I will be able to gather enough strength to go at it again....Yeah almost enough whine to make someone lose their lunch.

While I was at work 3 days later, hubby, on a whim, thought he'd just try something. Couldn't hurt right, I mean what more could be done?

It worked! I got my computer back to normal, all my documents and files, everything! I'm so lucky and blessed and my husband is so awesome!

So, moral of the story is to back up your stuff people! Not that you need to be told, I'm sure....but in any case don't be like me! Back that thing up people, back it up!

Top 10 Mistakes Mega List

Today I want to share a couple of lists I have acquired over the years of the common mistakes of new writers.

I don't remember where they came from and they probably repeat, but there is helpful info here.

List #1 Career Mistakes
10) Stop sitting around and dreaming about writing and WRITE!
9) Let your agent handle the business for you.
8) Don't be a "I know everything" kind of writer.
7) Don't put down other successful writers.
6) Network and connect with others even before being published.
5) Don't let your emotions throw you off course...keep your eye on the prize.
4) Stick to one genre.
3) Becoming rich isn't a reality.
2) Contracts can fall prepared.
1) The publishing industry is very s-l-o-w. Be patient and wait on the Lord.

List #2 Manuscript Mistakes
10) Using POV in the wrong way.
9) Not enough character emotions.
8) A weak opening line.
7) Having no external goals.
6) Episodic writing....keep the plot moving forward.
5) Too much narrative.
4) Lacking conflict and tension....conflict or tension should be on every single page.
3) Amateur writing....use of adverbs, exclamation points and too many dialogue tags.
2) Too many cliches.
1) Impatience.

List #3 Writing Mistakes
10) Commas.
9) Awkward phrasing.
8) Show don't tell.
7) Listing things.
6) 'To be' words.
5) No-good suffixes.....don't ruin a good word by tacking on a new backside so it is now a new word...i.e characterlessness.
4) Phony dialogue...don't talk about things the reader already knows.
3) Adverbs.
2) Filler writing to just fill the pages and make your count.
1) Repeating words too often.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do you ever put off writing for no particular reason? That's where I'm at right now. I have read a million blogs by authors and all of them say to write everyday even if you don't feel like it. I know this is great advice, but I just can't seem to heed it at this moment.

I think...why do I sit here all day reading these freakin awesome blogs when I need to be writing. OK, just one more blog entry...this one will be the last one....oh, this looks like a very helpful link...I'll stop after this.

And four hours later, I'm being reminded by my kids that they are hungry and I need to start dinner.

Why do I do this? Spend endless hours learning more and more on the craft of writing and more and more and more and don't sit and actually use the tips given to me.

Maybe I'm afraid. I'm afraid I won't be able to do it. That my novel will turn out cruddy. That I will start off great and hopeful and then get stuck and think maybe I wasn't meant for this gig after all. I'm sure it's all of the above.

I'll never be published if I don't first write the book....How many times have you heard that? I know it's true and I repeat it to myself often....but, I'm still just sitting here not writing anymore of my novel.

I can do this. I can do this. Right?

Sometimes I wish I had an office to go to to just work on my book. I have a hard time writing at home.....something ALWAYS distracts me. I can't get away from it.

I read somewhere that Stephen King wrote 1500 words a day everyday except his birthday and July 4. If he can do it so can I.....If I write it they will, kinda had an epiphany with that :)

Prayer will be my main motivation. I need God's help with this one and I know He will. He lead me down this path and I don't want to fail Him.

Am I the only one out there or does anyone else have this problem?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How do you create your characters?

Do you start with an idea for a book and then create the characters after you have the plot down? Or do you start with a character(s) and a situation they might be in, then create the story?

I think I have worked both ways, but to be sure, I'm going to take a minute and reflect on my W(s)IP.....Wow, I surprised myself. Most of my book ideas started with a situation. But, immediately after I figure out the situation, I start thinking about the main character.

Sometimes creating characters can be challenging for me and other times they just come to me. As if saying "Hey I have a story to tell and your gonna listen to it."

There are so many different aspects that go into creating a character. Beside the usual hair, eye and skin color, there is their personality types.

What type of heroin/hero is leading your story?

Does she try to please everyone? Is she a homebody? Is she adventurous? Is family important to her?

Does the hero like being outdoors? Does he want to be the boss someday? Is he a romantic?

All of these things matter and a good match with the hero/heroin has to be made as well to keep the plot moving in the right direction.

Opposites attract and make for a very interesting story. Conflict, conflict, conflict. There isn't a story without conflict and lots of it! The more the better.

Things cannot be going smoothly for our characters all of the time. That would get boring to the reader. Readers want to be shaken up, scared, excited, saddened and whatever else you can throw at them. That's what makes them keep turning the pages at 3 a.m. when they have to get the kids up for school and ready for work at 6 a.m. I LOVE those stories!

So, how do you create your characters? Do they scream at you to tell their story or does your story scream at you first?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Promo Day

Promo Day actually turned out to be interesting. There may have been more things for me to take advantage of, but I just stayed in the chatroom where different workshops took place throughout the day.

I was basically the only person in there not associated with the workshops, but I still found them to be very informative.

Unfortunatley, a little league game pulled me away from several workshops and there weren't any transcripts which, was a huge bummer!

In the future, I hope Jo Linsdell will offer transcripts. It's always great to hear from people in the writing industry and I would definitely recommend everyone to check it out next year.

I will not be posting my 5 sites today. I am away from home and don't have the info in front of me. I'll catch ya next time ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Writing sites

More 5 fav sites from Writer's Digest.

Nathan Bransford
An agent and an author, great advice and tips!

Query Shark
Janet Reid is an agent that critiques fiction queries for free.

Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent
Rachelle Gardner shares insight and inspires writers looking for representation.

A Book Inside: How to Write and Publish a Book
Author Carol Denbow gives great advice on writing.

Author Tech Tips
I couldn't pull myself away from this site. The 7 blogs to follow is definitely worth checking out!

More to come next time.

Guitly or not...cont'd

Oops...hit enter to post...sorry about that :)

OK.....she later returned with her mom to show her. After about a week she called the man back and asked if they could fill in the lake. This makes the man suspicious and he contacts someone in the sheriff's office.

Sheriff''s office shows up to drag the lake to see if there is anything in it. And what do you know....the missing .22 caliber gun is found.

A plan is brewing between the man and the SO and he tells the suspect that in order to fill the lake, they will have to drain it.

Cameras are set up at the lake to catch whatever might happen. What it captures is the woman arriving at the lake with a long pole or stick and walking into the lake poking around at the bottom in search of something.

She was arrested and later convicted for 60 years.

She asked for my help in her injustice. Saying the investigation was done wrong and she is appealing.

So, my question is....what would you do?

Guitly or not...Do I get involved?

I want to take the time to post about something not writing related today. Well not the kind of writing I post about, but it does relate to the writing I do for work.

About a week ago I received a letter from an inmate at a nearby prison. This isn't uncommon in my job but this one has stuck with me.

In the letter, the woman statesn that she is a 35-year-old mother of three kids and a suburban housewife that has been wrongfully convicted of a crime she didn't commit.

No surprise there...every person in prison is innocent, but I always like to think that maybe someone might be...maybe the justice system failed somewhere.

So, I looked into her background. I googled her name and found out that she was convicted of murdering her husband in 2006. The murder happened in 2005. There was alos a photo of her and she was a very pretty young blonde woman.

So, I start reading the details about the case.

One morning, this woman called 911 about 6:30 a.m. to say that she slept in her kids room last night because they had trouble sleeping and when she woke she found the guns in the cabinet were missing and that her husband was hurt. This was the order she relayed the information.

Police arrived to find guns spread out on the front lawn (shot guns and rifles) all except for a .22 calibur that was missing.

The husband was rushed to the hospital and the wife was kept at the house to be questioned...something she claims violated her rights.

Husband later dies at the hospital and the police are suspicious of the wife.

A little while after the murder, the wife calls a man ans asks him to bulldoze her home. He says no it's too new of a home, but suggests she might want to buy some land instead and shows her a property.

This property has a pond and she comments on how nice that would be because her husband would have loved to take the children fishing.

Promo Day

Promo Day...have you heard of it?

I just found out about this day of promotion for writers about a week ago. This year it will be held tomorrow Saturday, May 15.

Organizer Jo Linsdell says promo day is an all day event for writers to promote, learn and network. Publishers, Editors, PR Experts, Virtual Assistants, Graphic designers etc... are also invited to promote their services and seek out new talent.

Several events take place during the day including:
  • WORKSHOPS Chatroom. Online workshop with experts from the industry.
  • FORUMS. To make things even more international there will be online forums, open all day, where authors can promote their work, readers can ask questions, Publishers can post their guidelines, job listings and more...
  • Bookstore. Books available for purchase by the PROMO Crew (sponsors, workshop hosts and moderators).
All times are in Central European Time so it will need to be converted to your own time zone. Linsdell links to a time zone converter on her site.
So, what do you think? Have any of you ever participated in promo day? Does anyone plan to participate this year?
I will check it out myself and post my thoughts about the day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Writing sites

What a great magazine Writer's Digest is! And this month's issue is a must-have for any writer.

Inside the magazine's 88 pages, there are 101 of the best websites for writers and there are some gems to be found.

I visited all 101 websites and want to share my favorites with you. Each post I will share five of my faves. Happy surfing!

Ask Allison
I could have spent hours at this site and probably did but alas work had to be done.

Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers
Awesome advice for taking on plot problems.

Writer Unboxed
One of the best by far!!!

Chip MacGregor
Chip is a lliterary agent in the Christian market and has great advice.

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
Many agents contribute to this blog with very informative articles.

All Good Things Must Start Somewhere...

And this is my beginning.

I have a question....blogging, is it really as easy as some make it look? I sure hope so!

I am not a published author and don't have any vast knowledge of writing or publishing a book, but I'm learning. And I know there are A LOT of other aspiring authors in my shoes...but since I have been learning all I could about the business for over a year, then maybe I can offer something to other newbies out there.

Only time will tell. I plan to share writing tips I've learned or found useful, favorite writer sites, favorite authors and books I've read lately.

There will also be some random topics I'm sure, but I'm glad that you have decided to join me on my journey and look forward to hearing from you.