Posts Tagged With: writing

Shifting into Overdrive.

I’m not talking about the e-book distributor or cars, I’m talking about myself.

Over the next two weeks I’m going into overdrive on my edits. I’ve got two complete novels (though not my only two “complete” novels) that I really want to finish editing and I’m hoping that I can finish this round of edits by the end of May. Which means I’ll be spending a week on each one.

Whether or not I’m successful in that venture, I’ll be extremely happy if I can at least get through one of them in the next two weeks. This is because I really want to get to the point in the next couple of months where I’m ready to start querying agents.

I’m sure that I’ll go through each of the novels at least a few times before I even start drafting query letters, but it means that I need to buckle down and spend less time working on new material and more time focusing on getting the old material up to snuff.

Do you have any projects you are really excited about finishing?

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Story Ideas

I love when I wake up in the morning and mull over random thoughts that pass through my brain and realize that there is a story there. Sometimes the story is related to my dreams, though I haven’t had many of those in the past few months. But more often then not, the story is related to things I’ve been talking about, reading and even listening to lately.

So, what have I been doing the last few days? At work I was working on a weeding project where I was pulling books from a collection that was from one of our former libraries. Because it was a different library which got consumed by the current branch, it’s pretty easy to spot the books because the stamps on them have to do with the old library name. One of the books I ended up pulling was a Colorado Trivia book. The book itself is now just shy of 20 years old and being not from Colorado I was curious about what kind of trivia it had inside. Not surprisingly I only knew answers to a few of the questions I perused because they had to do with Leadville, Colorado or people from Leadville in the late 1800s.

This led me to think about some of the information I had come across in doing research for my werewolf novel which, for those of you who may not know, is set in the above place and time. This was soon followed by another thought, courtesy of The Functional Nerds.

Somehow in the last couple weeks I managed to skip over their 52nd episode in my Google Reader and I went back and listened to it earlier in the week. They talked with Steve and Andy Scearce who have each had a short story published in different anthologies. One of those being Rigor Amortis. And while I won’t be writing zombie erotica, the zombie idea got lodged in my brain.

Now I have, what I think, is a pretty humorous story rolling around in my head dealing with zombies and a historical event. Which will likely be influenced by other humorous zombie related things I’ve read and watched in the last year.

Right now I have no idea if this will just end up as a short story, or if something bigger might be there, but I do know that I’ll have a lot of fun with it. And I’m pretty sure I’ll have trouble not working on it while I work on finishing Script Frenzy this month.

Do you ever get story ideas that you are so excited about that you just want to start working on them right away?

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Script Frenzy

April is fast approaching and last year at this time I told myself that I would definitely make an effort to learn more about scriptwriting and try and participate in 2011 in this offshoot of NaNoWriMo. While I am still unsure if I’ll actually participate when April finally rolls around, I am taking the steps towards learning more about the practice and art of scriptwriting.

Aside from articles on the Script Frenzy site, I’ve picked up two books at my local library and I attended a scriptwriting seminar this past Tuesday. Whether I’ll get through all the material before April starts is yet to be seen. And whether I’ll have time between packing, moving and working to write and with just a week till the start, I’m on the fence about how serious of an attempt I’ll actually make at trying to write 100 pages. That aside, I am excited about what I will be working on during the month, which will basically be a rewrite of my werewolf novel from November, but in a script format of course!

But I am still hopeful that sometime with in the next few years that I will make an attempt at scriptwriting just for the experience of something different.

I think as a writer it is important and beneficial to explore different types of writing, whether it be different genres, poetry or even scriptwriting. And it is for that reason that I have been making efforts at expanding my repertoire of writing skills. Even if I don’t become very accomplished or experienced in other areas of writing, laying down the foundations now, might prove useful later in life and in my writing career.

Are any of you planning on participating in Script Frenzy?

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Notebooks

While my sister might have rules about stash busting with her knitting. I have rules about buying new notebooks. It’s like a sick disease for writers. You see a handsome or pretty or just perfect looking notebook and even though you already have a bunch, you just have to buy it.

And despite all my efforts to avoid the isles in the stores that have notebooks, I ended up going near one this week and I bought one of those notebooks that called to me. It whispered softly to my fingers and told sweet nothings about how smooth it’s surface was and how nicely bound it was and how it would lay just write when I opened it up to write in it…

Now of course, since I decided that I was going to buy this notebook, which is made from lovely recycled paper and full of character, I had to start writing in it right away. And I’ve been doing just that.

While I don’t generally write stories long hand, I have had a story idea that I’ve been mulling over in my head since November and so now I’m starting to write those ideas down. I’m getting a more solidified picture of what the story will end up being, what the main characters motivations are and so forth.

Like most of the stories I seem to write, this one is once again a departure from my normal fantasy theme. Though it does follow slightly along the horror themes in my current WIP, there are no fantastical creatures in this novel. It’s all humans and at least one very twisted woman.

I’m looking forward to getting started on actually writing the meat of the story down, but first I’ve got to get the bones down. Which is something I don’t always do, but it feels right for this novel.

Do you have any things that you love to buy, but really shouldn’t because you already have too many?

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Book Reviews

A while back I used to write short reviews of books I had read and why I did or didn’t like them. I don’t do it anymore and I sometimes wish that I had at least kept up with them even if I didn’t post them.

As a Librarian, knowing why I liked or didn’t like a book and what it’s characteristics are is really helpful when trying to recommend books to patrons. But since I really don’t do a lot of readers advisory work, I haven’t kept up with it.

And as a writer, I stopped posting critiques of other writers work because, well, when I don’t particularly like a book, I can be a bit harsh. To be honest, I am simply baffled sometimes at the things that get published and what becomes popular. But the reality is that we all have different tastes. What I think is trash someone might see as one of the best books of the last year and what they think is trash might be my favorite book of the year. So, I stepped away from writing reviews because I didn’t want to spread negativity. And to post only positive reviews seemed a bit silly.

I’m am, however, contemplating starting up my personal database of reviews again to help me at work for when I do get people who want recommendations. They won’t be shared, of course, but I think it’ll help me be a better Librarian and will encourage me to look at books with a critical eye again. Something which I also found very useful as a writer, because it also help me look more critically at my own work.

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Dear Friends and Acquaintances,

I appreciate that you love your family and want to help them out in these hard times. But remember, they are hard times and I’m not even a professional writer, much less gainfully employed. I work in the public sector, part-time. I barely make enough to live on, much less pay someone to read and edit my writing.

So, I’m sorry to say, I will not be employing your, also non-professional, editor sister/brother/mother/cousin/uncle/etc/etc. It’s great that they have an English/Journalism/Creative Writing/Etc Degree (or in some cases only working on them). But I also have a BA in English and a Masters in Library and Information Science. I read, write, and breathe books daily.

I also have a great group of writerly friends, thanks to NaNoWriMo, who are eager to read and critique my work in return for the same favor from me. No money will change hands here. Instead, we will be meeting twice a month to critique various group members work and twice a month to just hang out and write together.

If I am ever going to pay someone to read and edit my writing, I will be sure they come well vetted. No offense to your wonderful family member, but I want to make sure that I’m actually going to get what I’m meaning to pay for, rather than paying blindly for something that could be nothing close to what I need. I know it can be a vicious cycle, it’s hard to break into the business without credits but you also can’t expect to get paid with out any either. Sometimes people just have to start at the bottom and work their way up.

But all that aside, let me be completely honest, the only time I would pay someone to edit my work would be if I was going to go into self-publishing. And that’s not the direction I’m trying to head. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll want to stake out on my own, but I want to start first with traditional publishing. Anyone can self-publish, but not everyone can get a book deal.

So, please, don’t ask me every time you see me if I’ve got any work for your dearest loved one. Because I don’t and I probably never will. I wish I could say I was sorry, but I’m not. Instead I find that you are putting me in a horribly awkward position in which you are asking me to pay someone who isn’t a professional in my journey to enter the world of professional writing.

You wouldn’t pay the brother of your friend/acquaintance who has never even looked under the hood of a car, but only read picture-less books about fixing them, to fix you’re only mode of transportation to work, would you? Your loved one might read books everyday, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be any good at editing them. You see, I’d rather have someone, who looks at books with a critical eye because that’s also what they want to do, critique my work for doing the same thing for them than pay someone who only reads for pleasure outside of school.

Sincerely,
Your writerly friend/acquaintance, Emmie.

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Update!

It has been nearly a week since my last post, so I think I’m definitely overdue for a post.

It has been kind of weird not posting everyday, but because I’m doing a daily free write through 750words.com, I almost feel like I am blogging everyday. When I take a nap in the middle of the day (part of NaNo recovery), I wake up and think, Oh no! What time is it?! But luckily so far, I’ve always managed to drag myself to the computer with at least 30 minutes to spare and get the words out. And since I’m a pretty fast typer (I seem to be averaging around 80wpm), it means I only need about 9 minutes to get in all 750 words that are the goal on the site.

While I haven’t necessarily been doing the kind of writing I want to lately, I’m at least forcing myself into writing everyday, which is what I really want. I want to create a habit and stick with it, even if what I’m writing is just a bunch of random thoughts that are occurring to me as I go along. But, once I start thinking that I really have a habit established, then I might try and focus my free writes a little more through the use of word prompts. The idea being that I get a random word and then type whatever comes to mind when I think about it. This kind of writing, will hopefully, produce more story like elements that I can reuse elsewhere. It’s actually how I used to warm-up for NaNo during October, especially if I wasn’t really sure what I was going to write about yet.

That all aside, I will report that I spent five, yes five, hours editing my werewolf novel yesterday. That put me about two-fifths of the way through what I have in the original document. And I’ve been transferring it into Liquid Story Binder as I go through each section and break. That way I can have each scene in a separate file so that later I can go back and more easily rearrange things because I have everything more broken down now. And I have to say that the more I work with Liquid Story Binder the more and more I’m liking it. I’m really glad that I decided to spend the money on it. And, if you’re interested, it is currently still 50% off for a grand total of $22.98! Not bad, right? Go check it out here!

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Finding Motivation

I’ll be honest, after November ended all I wanted to do was just sleep. While I had plenty of motivation and even typed a few hundred words on the Space Opera 3000 since the month ended, it doesn’t mean that I’m really getting anywhere close to my goals for writing. But as I was going through my Google Reader and catching up, I came across something that peaked my interest.

T.N. Tobias made a NaNoWrimo Wrap Up post that linked to 750words.com. To say the least, I was quite intrigued. While 750 words is less than half of what I would like my daily goal to be, it is something to get me started. And I’m using it completely as a free write exercise. Once my brain and fingers are all warmed up I can go get busy working on doing writing on my novels or even editing for that matter.

If you want, you can follow my own progress here. If you join and want some extra motivation, don’t be afraid to follow me and post your own link, so that I can follow you!

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Post NaNo To Do List

Now that NaNo is over, it’s time to get back to those things that I either never got around to beforehand or realized I need to get done sometime during the last month.

In my top priorities outside of writing and editing are:
– Patching the three pairs of pants that have been slowly collecting in a pile since the beginning of November.
– Clean the inside of my car, because I was a bad girl and didn’t do it before November.
– Making Christmas presents (because that’s how I roll).

Things lower down on the list include:
– Reading that pile of books that is building up (Includes things like The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima, Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr, A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane, The Dark Planet by Patrick Carman and Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay)p
– Finishing various craft projects (crocheted bag, knitted blanket, crocheted cape, fairy cross stitch).
– Going through all my stuff and doing another purge.
– Putz around with the new blog design.

On the writing front I’ve got a lot going on…

I’m still researching information about Leadville, Colorado for my werewolf novel which begins its first phase of editing today! I will probably also being doing a small amount of research on the Appalachian Mountains which somehow ended up in the werewolf novel too…

I’m going to start researching stuff for Space Opera 3000, so that the science is a bit more real. Along with writing a bit on the novel each day.

Also, I’m going to go back to some old short stories I’ve written and send them through a couple edits and get them out to some people to read. I will also need to find people to read them too, but there are plans starting to form in that area too with other local Wrimos.

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NaNo Day 26

I’m supposed to be doing a #50kweekend (check this twitter hashtag to keep up with others doing it too), but as each day and hour passes, I’m falling farther and farther behind on that goal. I knew doing it in three days would be hard, considering that I haven’t passed 8k in one day, and doing 50k in three days means doing more than double my highest word count each day.

Ultimately, the best I can really hope for is to hit 100k by the end of the month, being still behind on that goal too. I’d still like to achieve that 50k weekend, but I’m going to need a serious amount of inspiration, being that I don’t have any sort of outline to help push me forward.

In fact, I keep trying different story ideas as I try and find something that can capture my interest. They are all things I’d like to write someday, but this isn’t the month. The almost 80k I’ve written so far this month is taking its toll on my creative side, being that I’m actually writing for quality rather than quantity this year.

Until I start learning to actually outline and plot large portions of a story to begin with, I don’t think I’ll ever be much of a speed writer; though I did manage to write the first 50k pretty quickly. However, I’ve never really been much of an outliner, not even on school projects.

The whole process is really making me think about what I could or couldn’t do month after month, and I think writing about 50k each month is on target for what I could do consistently. Not counting what editing I end up doing outside of writing new material. I guess as December rolls around I’ll get a better idea of what I can do.

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