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Monday, December 28, 2009

I Caved In

Well, I did it. I've been flip-flopping on the whole issue of getting a Twitter account for a while now. Thought it would just be another distraction, ya know? But I've noticed so many of you are already on there. And if ya'll can keep up with Twitter, blog, and do other real-life stuff while working on your books, then I'm going to give it a try. So I'm officially Twitterfied:) If you'd like to follow, just click the button on the side of the blog.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to navigate my way around it. Everything seems so confusing, so if you have any tips, please share. And I will get a picture up as soon as my computer decides to cooperate. It's getting on up in age and doesn't like do what I want it to do sometimes. (Hmm, sounds like one of my kids).

Hope to see ya there!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

I'll be caught up in Christmas activities tomorrow. You know the kind. Cooking (but not cleaning), getting presents together to haul to various relatives' houses, opening said presents, dragging kids and more presents back home, depositing presents in house, dragging kids to bed, getting kids to stay in bed, and maybe getting some sleep. Then having the kids get us up way too early on Christmas morning, take pictures of them with Santa's gifts, open more presents, then on to the in-law's for a huge Christmas dinner. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with your family, and I'll see you in a few days. 







Monday, December 21, 2009

Official Kissing Day Blogfest!

It's here! *squeals* Okay, I didn't really squeal, but I am sooo excited. I'm ready to head out and read everyone's wonderful smooching scenes, but first I've got to post mine. Wow, suddenly I'm feeling all inadequate.

I'm going to post a first kiss. This is a scene from my WIP, Visions and it's very brief. That's because the main character, Eden, is on the run from The Consortium (the group who governs the walled city in which everyone now lives). Eden is traveling with her father, her younger sister Noren, her BFF Gwyn, and the potential love interest David. They have just found a place in the city where they can hide, so David decides to sneak in a quick kiss in case they're caught.

"The door's here,"David says. I turn to see that he has opened it and is waiting for us. Gwyn has already gone inside.

Dad picks up Noren and starts toward the entrance. "Let's go. We've got to figure out what we're going to do now."

I'm about to follow when David grabs my arm. I try to ignore the tingling sensation that is now creeping over me, but when I lock onto his intense gaze, a small sigh escapes my now parted lips.

"Eden, I...." he whispers, then swiftly leans down and brushes his lips against mine. The tingling is now replaced by a full course of adrenaline rushing through my body, making every inch feel fully alive.

All too soon, he pulls back. I open my eyes and, in the span of a few seconds, try to convey all of the longing I feel for him in one simple look.

He smiles and reaches over to brush a lock of hair behind my ear. "Come on, everyone's waiting."

I know, it's rough. But I'm still in first draft mode. So, what do you think?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can't Wait Until Monday!

Usually, Mondays suck. Mondays are blah day. But this Monday is gonna be fabulous. Why? Because it's The Official Kissing Day Blogfest! Just think, we can cruise around the 'net and read one spine-tingling scene after another.

Sherrinda at A Writer Wannabe has a Mr. Linky. Just stop by and post your blog address so everyone can find your amazing smooch scene with ease. And don't forget to spread the word. Post about this on your blog or tweet about it if you have a Twitter account (which I do not, yet...). You can post a scene from one of your books, you can create a new scene, or post a scene from your favorite book or movie. It's up to you:)

So, who else is in?

Friday, December 18, 2009

This 'n That

Today's post is a little bit of everything (or nothing, depends on how you look at things). First up, I officially finished my Christmas shopping today. (stands up and cheers, gets bizarre looks from the kids) Okay, now that I've calmed down, I do have to mention that shopping this year just sucked. I absolutely HATE having to figure out what everybody wants, and I HATE trying to weed down my kids' lists to a handful of things that we can actually afford. They have no concept that we have a budget that we have to follow:)

Anyway, I thought I was finished two days ago, until I found a little e-mail informing me that the ever-coveted New Super Mario Bros for Wii game that I had ordered last week was....guess....on back order. I promptly e-mailed the company and politely inquired if they could get the game to me by Christmas seeing as it's for my daughter. They finally replied to me this morning with a generic e-mail that said Your order has not been shipped yet. So I replied with a curt cancel my order. I mean, what's the point of dealing with them if they can't get my merchandise to me. I know, try not to laugh at my ignorance. So I called my sister and my aunt, who were shopping today in two different cities. I asked them to pick up the game if they could find it. Go ahead, guess again. Yup, I got the usual. Out. Of. Stock. Everywhere. Apparently, I underestimated the popularity of this game. Then I spent an hour looking online for ANY place that had the evil little game. Finally found it at Amazon.com. I am now praying that I don't check my e-mail and find another nasty little This item is on back order notice waiting for me. *sighs*

On one of my shopping excursions this week, I was in my very favorite store on the whole planet. Barnes and Noble. Stayed in there a solid hour just basking in the atmosphere of the place. Did my part in helping the book industry and got some cool books for the kids. And on the way out, I stopped by the writing section to browse for a few minutes. Immediately I spotted The Fire In Fiction by Donald Maass. I've been dying to get my hands on this book since Susan R. Mills did a series of posts about it. I picked it up, thumbed through it, and thought I really should wait until after Christmas to buy this. Maybe someone will get me a B&N gift card. But impatient is my middle name, so I bought it. I know. Bad, bad me. I should have been sticking to my Christmas list and my name was not on it. But you know, sometimes you have to take care you. While some people go out and get a new pair of shoes, I like to buy books. So I shoved that guilt to the far corners of my mind and got it. But I haven't read one single word yet. Been too busy. Yeah, that's the story of my life lately...

Oh, my poor little WIP. I've dreamed about working on it. I've even opened the word document and pulled it up, but I'm officially stuck. And I'm beginning to think it has to do with the chapter I last worked on. I'm not really happy with it, but I left is alone, thinking I could fix it later. But I may have to go back, delete some things that are bothering me, or just do a complete rewrite before I can move on. That's just how my mind works.

And you may be thinking Well, why isn't she working on it right now? The answer to that is simple. My husband and kids are still awake. And they're currently in the living room, which is right next to my study, and they're throwing a ball at each other. In my house! And making enough noise to wake the dead. Seriously, I may look out my window and see zombies coming up my driveway at any minute.

So, what have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Character Traits Everywhere!

When I was in my wanting-to-be-a-writer phase, I remember doing a lot of research about how to start a novel. I have some "how-to" books that were helpful, and I read a lot of articles online. Then I discovered blogs. I learned a lot over a long period of time, but one thing stood out like a neon light: You must create memorable characters.

And I thought Hmmm, how am I going to do that? I mean, the advice was dead-on. Memorable characters are a common throughout every single book that I've ever loved. My current favorite character is Katniss from The Hunger Games. I love the fact that she is a survivor, that she was able to use her skills and intelligence to outsmart the other contestants and the government.

So, how do you go about coming up with an amazing character like that? Well, one of the things I've learned is to steal traits from people you know. Now don't make one of your characters a thinly-veiled carbon copy of someone you are close to. That could just start a huge argument if they happen to read your book and recognize themselves. Just pick a few traits and mannerisms from several different people and mix them into a new person of your doing.

You can even find traits from people you don't know by watching movies, t.v. shows, and the news. For instance, I love the t.v. show Monk. In case you haven't heard of it, the main character was a private investigator with major OCD issues. He had to have an assistant follow him everywhere, and one of the things he always had her do was to give him a wipe whenever he was forced to shake someone's hand or touch something. Talk about a weird trait.

And don't forget to use yourself! Who knows you better than you? (Does that make sense???) I know all of my own hopes, desires, fears, dislikes, and what have you. Since you are so intimately familiar with what makes you tick, why not use a few of those things to liven up a character? One of the things my mc shares with me is a fierce sense of protectiveness. I'm like that in real life toward my children and anyone else who is close to me, so that was a natural thing to add to my mc.

So, where have you picked up character traits from? Are your characters a mixture of a lot of different people, or do you have a different method of creating them?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You'd Think I Could Find Some Time...

I don't know where the time goes. For one, I can't believe the year is almost over. It seems like I was just making/breaking the all-important resolutions for 2009, and now I've got to come up with another list soon. *sighs*

Procrastination has reared it's ugly head in another way, too. I put off shopping way longer than I usually do, so I finally started on Friday. And realized a huge mistake in waiting so long. I spent all day shopping in the freezing cold with my toddler (yeah, big mistake) and had a hard time finding a lot of things. I got really frustrated having to go all over the place trying to find a certain coat that my oldest just has to have because all the other kids have it and could not find it. Then I spend a huge chunk of the day on Saturday searching online for the things I couldn't find in the stores. I kept seeing the dreaded OUT OF STOCK everywhere! *grumbles*

Well, the whole weekend has flown by, and I haven't written anything in my WIP. Not. One. Stinking. Word. I feel like the worst of the worst writers. Here I was going on about reaching the mid-point of my book, and I've just come to a stand-still. But that's life. This time of the year is hectic for everybody. From shopping, to family get-togethers, parties, and a host of other things, there's just not a lot of time left in the day for extras now. The guilt is starting to pile on, as well as the anxiety. What if I spend so much time away from my WIP that I can't get back into the groove? What if I can't figure out what to do next?

So, what's been going on in your life lately that's been eating up your time? Are you progressing along in your WIP, or are holiday preparations taking up a lot of your time, too?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Neverending WIP

That's what my story feels like right now. Like it's never gonna come to an end. When I started it back in September, I wrote with lightening speed. Every day. Then I hit a little snag and went a few days in between writing. Then I hit a major brick wall and went for a solid week without writing a word. I worked out the kinks there and everything started going smoothly again. I thought, I bet I can finish this bad boy by the end of October!

Flash forward to the end of October. Yup, still not finished. I had a lot going on in real life. You know, family stuff, house to keep semi-clean, chasing around a toddler who recently discovered the joys of climbing. So I said, Okay, time to buckle down. Must finish first draft by the end of November.

Flash forward to the end of November. Still. Not. Finished. *Smacks self on forehead* Maybe, just maybe, I can get this done by the end of December.

Well, the good news is that I crossed over 30,000 words last night. And I realized that I'm officially in the "middle" of my story. Things are getting really tense for my characters. I'm getting impatient to see how they react to what I have planned next. But I don't want to rush things. While I do want to type "The End" very soon, I don't want to fly through and have a crappy second half to deal with later. I'm so torn over this. Some people say to just get it all out and fix the crappy parts during revisions, but others say take your time so you won't have to fix as much.

So, what do you think? How did you feel when you hit the middle part of your book?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Death of a Character

First up, I need to give a huge **SPOILER ALERT** for my crit group.

I hate having to deal with killing a character. It makes me feel awful, like I need a shower, a stiff drink, or something. No, I haven't killed the character I have in mind...yet. See, way back in the summer I came up with a rough outline for my WIP. And in the course of this outline, I planned for the characters to be at certain places at certain times. Well, so far my mc and her little sister have been on the run from the bad guys with their father. But I need to get rid of the father. In order for my mc to truly grow in this story, she has to be on her own, to rely on herself. And she needs to feel that she's alone in the world. So I just planned to ax her father.

But....I don't want to now. Like I said before, my characters are like real people to me. The thought of doing away with him is awful. But on the other hand, I know that the story will be way more powerful if I do this. So....that's where I'm at now. I started writing the scene last night where he was first shot, and let me say it was rough.

How many of you have killed a character before? How did you handle it? And if you have not done this before, do you think you would be able to?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hooks

I've read a lot of articles about writing. I've surfed the web and visited blogs in search of writing tips. And one that keeps jumping out at me is about the concept of hooks. You know, the tantalizing tidbits that lure readers in and keep them wanting more.

One kind is the first sentence/first paragraph hook. I've read different accounts that say your first paragraph must be written in such a way as to immediately grab the reader's attention. Some even go so far as to say the very first sentence must fulfill that role. It's a daunting task, trying to convince someone (and agent, an editor, and readers) that your masterpiece is worthy of their time, and the first few words may make them want more or flat out reject it. After all, you have to establish the characters, setting, and tone of your work in a few hundred words.

Another type of hook is the "leave them wanting more" kind that should be utilized at the end of each chapter. The idea is to have the reader get to the end of a chapter, saying they will finish tomorrow, but realize they just HAVE to read one more chapter because they can't put it down. I've ended some of my chapters in several ways: by having the characters learn something that they didn't already know, having them realize that their safety is in jeopardy, and by having their worst fears confirmed. Now these are not the only things I've used, just a few that made me want to plunge immediately into the next chapters. After all, if I can't wait to find out what happens next, maybe the readers will feel the same way, too.

What are some things you have learned about hooks? Do they frustrate you when trying to come up with them, or do they come easily to you? What are some tips you can share?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Great Contest And A Meme

The wonderful Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe is having a fabulous contest. Up for grabs this time is a signed copy of Twilight! Isn't she great? The contest is open until December 10, so hurry over and register.

The lovely Sara tagged me with my very first "meme!" Now don't get too excited about reading this. It's writing related, and since I'm so new to this, my answers may get a little repetitive. Sorry! Oh, and before I begin, I'm going to tag Tina Lynn and Erica.

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The last thing I wrote was in my WIP last night. The first thing I wrote that I still have is a short story from way back in sixth grade. I entered it in a school contest and won, which made me soooo happy because I beat seventh and eighth graders to win.

2. Write poetry?
No, I like to read it, but I suck at writing it.

3. Angsty poetry?
Well, I like to read it:)

4. Favorite genre of writing.
Anything under the umbrella of speculative fiction.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created.
I had a project I started outlining and promptly abandoned when I was in college (See I've WANTED to be a writer for a loooong time). Anyway, the main character was whiny and self-indulgent. Don't know why I made her that way...

6. Best plot you've ever created?
Obviously, the one I'm working on now...since I've never written a book before:)

7. Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
I can't tell you that...my crit group doesn't even know yet!!!! (Inserts evil laugh)

8. How often do you get writer's block?
Hmmm... I wrote like crazy for the first few weeks when I started my WIP, but then I hit a major snag. Took me a week to figure out where I wanted to go, and ever since then I've been on a roll. It's just hard to work sometimes with all of the distractions, but I'm getting better:)

9. Write fan fiction?
No, never had the urge.

10. Do you type or write by hand?
Type..I'm pretty fast. If I wrote by hand, I would never get anything done.

11. Do you save everything you write?
Of course, I'm not crazy!

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you abandoned it?
No way...I've looked at some of the ideas I wrote down in the past and they are AWFUL!

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
My current WIP. What can I say, I love it:)

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
Not a clue.....I haven't let anyone except my crit group read my WIP, and I haven't written any short stories since I was in school.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
I had an outline of a cheesy romance from when I was in college (I really, really, really wanted to be a writer way back then), but I never started it.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?
My current WIP is set in the foothills of a mountain range. I LOVE the mountains!

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Just one. Any more would blow my mind.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Oops, I said this above...yeah, the contest from sixth grade.

19. What are your five favorite words.
Apparently they are now, look, just, then, and glance. I have used them way too much in my WIP.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself.
The mc from the short story that won the contest was basically me.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?
People watching and using some of my own characteristics. But once I get the basics down, they come alive and tell me about themselves, if that makes sense.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Well, I had a vivid dream a few months ago and I wrote down some details from it. I'm saving it for later and I'll go back and see if I can make a story from it.

23. Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
I don't really favor any one over the others. If I'm sucked into the story, the ending should just make sense with what is happening. But if you tied me up and made me pick one, I would have to pick happy endings.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I obsess over it.

25. Does music help you write?
I can't listen to music as I write. Then the songs get stuck in my head and I can't get in the story. However, I do listen to songs for inspiration.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.

Soon, we enter the fringe of the outdoor recreation area and catch a glimpse of the city. The great wall surrounding it cannot hide the magnificent marble government building that towers over the center, reaching upwards like a finger pointing in accusation toward the heavens.

And that's all for now:)