Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Building a Writer's Workplace and Not Going Insane

Happy Halloween, everyone!
I am very proud of the fact that I made this hat myself.
Also, this is before the costume is complete. It will eventually (hopefully) be Gandolf.

Full Time Writing

First let me say that I am not a full-time writer. I hold down a 40 hr/wk job. If I were a full-time writer that would be both awesome and also a risk to my sanity. As a full-time writer I'd have much more opportunity to focus on something that I love doing and that I hope will become my profession. However, I would also have ALL my time to myself. Less socializing, a less regimented existence, and potentially less sanity. I'd have WAY too much time to spend in my own head. Of course, I'd have to work something out. I'd probably help babysit my sister's kid both to make sure I got out of the house and to help her out. And I'd make myself enjoy a few more hikes in the nearby state parks. Things like that.

Yea for the Internet!

But forums and blogs and e-mails and really just the whole on-line world would definitely play a big part. Both with my writing and keeping my sanity. This amazing invention called the internet has helped to link people who will never meet in person and who never would have met out in the "real" world. As a writer it can help you read what other writers are doing, help you meet fellow, struggling wanna-be authors, and get you some awesome insight and advice. I personally am a part of the Bransford Forums (Nathan Bransford is a former agent and is now a middle grade author and social media manager-his blog has some really helpful stuff on it too). On there I can meet people, get feed back on my queries and excerpts, talk about random stuff, and generally feel like I've socialized with real, live people without leaving my bedroom or putting on anything other than my pajamas (which I'm wearing as I write this very post!). There are all sorts of online forums for writers, and many of them are completely awesome. There are also other ways of meeting people through the internet - like participating in their blogs, writing your own blog, using Goodreads, and of course the ridiculous number of social media sites out there.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Writing Update 10-28-12

Today's writing update is very simple - I'm editing, editing, editing. I think I removed about 6,000 words from my first few chapters in an effort to amp up the pacing and add a little tension. I also added one new chapter and moved one later chapter up. I cut out all sorts of back story b/c my husband said it was boring and my CP said she didn't start to get really interested until about a third of  the way through the book. Hope people still get what's going on!

So, in other words, I spent tons of time playing puzzle with my book. And also making it shorter. Probably things most non-writers never think of. Definitely never something I imagined I'd be doing when I set out to write my first book.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Magic & Powers

And I move with superhuman speeds!

From the Worlds of Science Ficiton and Fantasy: A Cool List

So I'm a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and I was thinking about all of the ways that you have have some sort of supernatural power in these worlds. I wanted to come up with a list before I wrote anything else science fiction/fantasy, so I have some options laid out before me.

I've read a fair amount, but I'm positive I've missed a few things (feel free to remind/berate me in the comments), but this is what I've got so far:
  • Magic
    • From nature/ley lines
    •  Inherent from birth
    •  From objects of power
    •  Learned/academic magic
    • From other beings, such as demons (either direct theft of their power or use of the demons to do your bidding)
  • Inborn Powers
    • (Obviously magic can be one of these)
    • Control over an "element," for Ex. Avatar
    • Talents, for Ex. healing, telepathy, clairvoyance
    • Supergenius, for Ex. Girl Genius of the eponymous webcomic
  • Superhumans/Mixed-breed humans/Mutants
    • Superpowers and superheros
    • Werewolves/animals. So many wereanimals these days.
    • Maybe vampires. I think they're kinda superhumans.
    • Scientific experiments, for Ex., Peter Parker (so there's a superheros again)
  •  Religious powers
    • Power from a specific God
    • The Force (Star Wars)
    • Reverend Mothers (Dune)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Writing Update 10-21-12

So I had thought I'd be sending out some more query letters this week, but I just got a very insightful critique on my WIP (work in progress), and instead I'm back to editing.

I spent Friday brainstorming and laying out an outline of things I want to add (and delete), and now I'm working on actually adding (and deleting) them. Oh, the drafts! The many, many drafts.

P.S. I color coded my outline and it looks like Christmas spit on my outline. Red=delete. Green=add. Christmas has very festive spit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fear and Writing

Would you believe I'm actually scared of starting my new book?

I have the idea all plotted out, and, actually, before I set it aside to do some serious editing of the project I'm querying now, I got started on this project. So I have a few thousand words and a flushed out idea, and I love the whole thing. And that's why I'm scared. Right now, my idea has all sorts of potential to become an absolutely amazing book. Heck, right now, my book could be the Next Big Thing.

But when I finally get started (or, here, re-started), my project starts to lose the potential of what it could be and turn into what it actually is. And, somehow, that's a bit scary.

What if I'm not good enough to do this idea justice? What if I just write an absolutely horrible introduction but the rest of it is wonderful and nobody ever reads it because they can't get past the first few chapters? What if I miss my opportunity to make this book what it really could be?

All of these insecurities are stopping me from starting my project. I mean, honestly, I just finished a few big editing projects and I could probably use a little time off, and one of these days I'll just get so impatient about the fact that I'm not writing that I'll just start writing, but in the meantime, as silly as it is . . . I'm scared.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Writing Update

So my husband reminded me that I originally started this blog to chronicle my attempts to get published b/c IF I do become a published author it'd be cool to have a sort of timeline of what I was doing.

So, I'm thinking of doing quick Sunday updates in addition to more fun to read Wednesday posts. This one's a bit longer than I eventually intend them to be.

Here's where I'm at: I recently finished a fifth draft of my MG Fantasy because I needed to add more tension and a clearer villain from the outset. I also tried to get rid of all extraneous stuff from my first few chapters because they were dragging a bit (and I'm a little worried they're still too slow, but I feel like I NEED everything else).

I queried on both my third and fourth drafts of this book, and (according to my spreadsheet) I've already put out 21 queries, and not one of those got a hit. That was what helped me to realize I need to do something different. I'm sad I "wasted" 21 agents, but I re-revamped my first chapter, my plot, and my query letter, so here's hoping! And, really, I wouldn't have improved the book if it weren't for those 21 agents.

I also recently joined the Bransford forums to get online critiques of my queries and excerpts (and for fun), and I have one CP (critique partner) I don't know in person through there. I'm thinking of expanding that, but it is quite hard to write, have a life, keep up with social media, and work full time, so some weeks are slower than others, and I don't always get everything done that I'd like.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Favorite Places & Small Spaces

When I was a little girl, I used to take pillows and blankets and books and create a nest of sorts for myself in the bathroom (the only one in the house). I'd hole up in there for hours and read. And I'm not sure what was wrong with my parents' and sister's digestive tracts, but I don't remember getting kicked out of my nest very often.

Now, despite it's strategic location, I did not pick the bathroom because it was a bathroom. I picked it because:
1) It had a heater! I was (and am) a cold sort of person who really enjoys a good heating.
2) It was the smallest room in the house, and I love small spaces.

This post was going to be about how I love writing in small spaces, but then I realized it's not that I love writing in small spaces, it's that I love being in small spaces.

Our last apartment had a long walk-in closet (it wasn't a classy sort of apartment, I just don't think they knew what else to do with that space-it was long and awkward). And I'd create a nest for myself in that closet and read and write for hours. That was most likely where I finished my very first manuscript. (See? This is about writing, you just had to wait for it.)

And, very recently, we were working on our living room (staining some window trim), and my husband moved his computer out of the living room and into the smallest room in the house (barring the bathroom), so, of course, I followed him, put down a sleeping bag and some pillows, and now I am much happier than I was in that horrid, big old living room. Ahhhh, I didn't realize how much I missed my small spaces.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reading And Writing, But Not At The Same Time

 Oooooo, and today I'm mysterious.

To Read Or To Write-That Is The Question

One of the things I see a lot is that if you intend to write you MUST read.
I completely agree. (How else would you know if what you write has any appeal? And how else can you learn and grow?) But I have noticed something about myself: the more I write, the less I read.

It's an interesting phenomenon. When I'm really caught up in my writing and writing a decent amount every day, I just don't have the inclination to read. It feels too much like work.

Fortunately, when I just can't stomach the idea of writing or I'm really lacking in inspiration, I love to read. I've re-read lots of books that I really liked just to see how the author wrote them and why I think they were successful. And then I just read the stuff I want to read too. It's fun!

I just think it's funny that when I write I don't read, and when I'm really reading a lot, I don't write.

Does anyone else have this problem? Or maybe it's not a problem. Or maybe I'm crazy (or maybe that's a separate issue).