Wednesday, 20 February 2013

From the Bottom of the Box, Part I

Some of my old journals have come back into my hands recently. My parents cleaned out their basement a couple of months ago and dumped a box of my old things at my place. All of it still smells like my old home (musty basement smell, but so sweet for all the memories it brings up).
I used to keep journals/diaries sporadically, not ever really writing on a daily basis. Surprisingly, I remembered the combinations to open the locks on them, though I had to cut the oldest one open because it was locked with a key lock which I lost the key for. It was quite something, to step back in time, as much as 20 years in one! I’ve realized after reading through them that I have changed, but I’ve also, in many ways, stayed much the same (more on this in later posts).
In the oldest one I found, my mother wrote the first entries for me. Here’s an excerpt from the first entry on January 8, 1993 (don’t worry, nothing too personal!):

At school I worked and played outside. In the class I played with Barbie dolls and blocks. I shared my cookies with James. My mom bought this diary for me tonight.

Funny enough, I sort of remember dictating this to my mom. It’s interesting to see how I thought as a six year old. And I still keep in touch with James!
The first entry I wrote on my own, in sprawling, crooked block letters (how cute!) was on November 16, 1993 (I’m leaving in the spelling errors I made):

I love Jacob and Randy. My friend is Aubrey every day I paly with My friend Audrey and sometimes I paly with Ashley [last name withheld].

And how awesome, my dad wrote for me on the next page! That was the time my mom was away to get an operation. I remember my dad cooking us eggs for dinner, but I didn’t remember that he helped me write in my diary. I recognize his tiny handwriting. And then right at the end, I write: Mind Cat Bad
The entry my dad wrote for me.
The cat I am talking about can only be Rambo, the warrior cat of my youth. He was orange and white and all muscle. He had so many scars and his ears were halfway gone from all the fights he got in. But I never once saw another male cat in our yard when I was younger. How could I tell the ones I did see weren’t male? I don’t know and don’t ask!
I will have to show this to my parents.
To be continued…

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Photo of the Week 10/02/2013

Good afternoon! On this day in which the sun shines brightly through the cold, I present to you the latest photo of the week. I took this photo earlier in the week, when the wind was blowing hard on the lake down the road from where I live. The fishing cabins huddle beneath the blue sky while the snow from the lake careens onto them; Winter's biting fury will not so easily let up, despite the bold predictions of several groundhogs. Out here, only a fool predicts the end of Winter.

Yes, that was an awful description I wrote above.
Have a nice day! Now, I go away to work on my writing... or perhaps slink outside to make the most of the sun... I love winter, by the way.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

An "a-ha" moment!

Did you ever have a plot epiphany as you were writing? Something that would change the rest of your story so drastically from what you had planned, but for the better? I did.
While I was writing today, I was wondering how I would fit everything I had planned into the rest of the story without going overboard long on the word count. I had originally intended to introduce a very important character (let’s call him Bob for sanity’s sake) into the story but I kept delaying his appearance. I kept writing, and writing. And I would ask myself, when is Bob going to show up? It’s not going to make sense when he comes around for my heroine to follow him because there won’t be any time for them to get to know each other and their reasons.
So I opened a new text document in Scrivener and typed at the top: What would the rest of my story look like if Bob did not exist?  And then, as I was replying to that question, I had an "a-ha" moment.
Bob was already in my story.
That’s right. Bob was already there, right under my nose all along, only masquerading as something I hadn’t planned way back when (let’s call this character Rafael). Suddenly it all became clear what I needed to do.
Well, maybe not all clear straight away. I still have some things to work out. So it’s back to the outlining for me. There’s nothing I have to go back and drastically change; my subconscious wrote Rafael the way I need him to be to fit in as the important character Bob. Somewhere, deep down inside I had known Rafael was Bob.
Okay, so this is probably not making sense to you since you have no idea what my work in progress is about, but trust me, this was a big epiphany for me. And it will make finishing my story a lot easier, I hope anyway. There’s still the matter of the showdown with the villain. I have to make it satisfying; I have to make it make sense. This tale will be turning in my head until I figure it all out.
I have a feeling I won’t be getting a lot of sleep tonight.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A Goal for February

So, I've decided to give myself a goal for this month. I hope to write 25,000 words of my current work in progress. That would bring me to 100,000 words and probably to the end of the story.
I am a bit worried, however, that I won't actually get to the end of the story once my goal is reached. There's so much that needs to happen from now until then and I don't think I can fit it all in at 100,000 words. My story is a fantasy, and right now I'm writing it with an adult audience in mind, but I keep thinking it might be better as a young adult. That being said, I am a little confuddled as to how long it should be. General guidelines I've read over the Internet are all over the place, though from 90,000 to 120,000 max seems to be the generally accepted rule for fantasy.
*le sigh*
I think I'll just worry about all that once my story is actually finished. Then I can revise, edit, and cut any needless things. It might not ever get published anyway.
*face palm*
Think positive, missy!
Anyway, I've set up a word count meter to the right. As you can see, today I wrote 2,091 words. Pretty good. I haven't calculated how much I'll need to write every day to reach my goal before the stroke of midnight on March 1st, but I figure I can reach this goal. It will motivate me to sit down and write. And if I could do 50,000 in November, when I actually had a job and things to do, then I can definitely do this in February, even if it is only 28 days long and I didn't really write for the first two days. I hope I can do that anyway...
I'll update the meter every time I update the blog, which I don't know how often that will be; suffice it to say update times shall vary!
Have a good evening and a good week! Ciao!
P.S. How about those habs there, eh? 6-2!? Looking good, especially compared to last season (which I would like to forget ever happened).

Friday, 1 February 2013

Helpful Links Part Deux

Happy February 1st! Wow, this year is going so fast, isn't it? Maybe it's just me but 2013 is flying! I promised before that I would share helpful links about writing whenever I collected enough to make a significant post. Now I have and here they are!
The Writing Stage:
  • Pacing Dialogue and Action Scenes - From fantasy writer Holly Lisle. She has a great mailing list that sends out writing tips every friday. I would recommend you sign up for that if you are a budding writer. It gives me another reason to look forward to fridays!
  • A Simple Way to Create Suspense - Some helpful tips from author Lee Child on how to keep the reader turning those pages.
  • Advice - A crime fiction writer's three pieces of simple advice.
Stuff to do with agents:
Other things to consider:
  • Apples or Oranges? - A blog post about book series and what to consider if you are planning to write more than one book with the same characters - fixed number or never ending? This is something you might want to consider before you start writing or before you finish your work in progress.
  • Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing, Pros & Cons - An article which discusses, well what the title says. Good food for thought.
  • How Long Should a Book Be? - Ever wondered how long your story should be? How long is too long? How short is too short? This is a great post which breaks down word counts for all kinds of books and genres.
  • Literary vs Commercial - Have you also ever wondered what the difference is between literary and commercial fiction? Did you even know there were two such different things? I am a voracious reader, but I had never noted these things before, though it is something I should be aware of as a writer. Sarah LaPolla explains.
  • Kurt Vonnegut Can Bite Me - A blog post about all the writing rules out there and how you should only really be following one - write! Makes all these links a little useless, but the other point is, take what you can and what you need from the sea of advice.
Further food for thought:
  • Should books in a series have a "previously on..." summary page? Read author Zoë Marriott's interesting discussion on this hot topic. Having just started reading the third book of a trilogy, months, perhaps a year, after the second book, I tend to find this idea a good one. I had absolutley no clue what was going on anymore and found myself scratching my head through the first pages, furiously trying to remember.On the other hand, if I had just finished reading the second book, then such a page would be a waste of time (and paper). But, you can always skip over that page if that is the case.
I hope they were helpful! Good night!