Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to 2013!

First off all, have one: 

Source

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Overall, 2012 was a zinger of a year, filled with blessing and successes. In fact, I got a substantial amount of this year's goals done. 

Here's what I want to do in 2013: 

Writing: 

Continue querying Doorways

Finish the draft to Guardian

Rewrite: 

Don't Look Back

(Working Title) Otto

(Working Title) Guardian

Maybe finish the draft sequel to Doorways: Unlocking

Reading: 

Just to read more. I'm going to go easy on myself and aim for 25 books for the whole year. Any genre or classification. Crits not included because I consistently fail to keep count of them. 

Life: 

Keep working on my voice. 

Get back to guitar lessons. 

REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 

Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 

Eat and cook healthier food. 

Make a point to meet more people with whom I have things in common. Sort of feeling tired of having my real life conversations ending in blank stares. 

I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition's worth of art?


That's it for me this year. I'm all about simplifying this coming year, so I'm looking forward to seeing how much of it I get done. 

What about you? What do you want to achieve in 2013? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Here I am again

Amazingly, I'm still in one piece, despite a busy Christmas season. And it's not over yet.

You see, my December looks like this:

Mom's Birthday: 22nd
Christmas Eve (opening gifts): 24th
Christmas Day (Church and lunch): 25th
Uncle's birthday: 26th
My Birthday: 28th (Money transfers welcome. ;-P)
New Year's eve: 31st.

So as you can see, I'm not really getting time to sit still to blog without appearing to be anti-social.

Still, I've written a synopsis and revised my query again and again. I'm thinking I should send it to Query Shark before contacting agents, but that's a story for IWSG.

In the mean time, I'm reading my friend Michael Offutt's novel, Slipstream, at the moment, although the above-mentioned makes for some slow going. Ooh! Speaking of which, Oculus, the sequel to Slipstream is out, in case you've been living under a rock or missed all the posts about it this month. Go check these books out, if you haven't yet. Mike's one of my best CPs and he definitely knows the craft.

Alrighty then! I better get going again before my family sends out a search party.

See you again soon!

Who else have some important birthdays coming up between now and New Year's eve? Anyone else still have family visiting?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Interview with Shah Wharton (and a Giveaway!)


Hey all! Today I'm sharing a short chat I had with Shah on the release of her new book: Finding Esta. Before I hop to that, I just want to let you know that there's a copy to be given away.


But first, the interview:

Welcome to MFB, Shah. For those of my bloggy friends who haven't met you yet, please share a bit about yourself? Who are you and what makes you tick?

Well, I'm a housewife and mum to a huge German Shepherd pup (10 months old, 36kg and still growing!). I used to work in mental health, and have bipolar disorder, although that's not what makes me tick. That would have to be my love of stories. Reading them, writing them and watching them. I enjoy living in my head :)

It's wonderful that you don't let your bipolar disorder define who you are or keep you from doing what you want. What's the best part about a story for you? Writing, reading or watching.

You know what, that's a difficult one. I suppose as a writer, I should say writing. And when in the first flush of creating the first draft, I'd agree. But then I do love the theatre and cinema, or being submerged in a warm bed, glass of wine at my side, fabulous book on my Kindle.

So true. A fabulous book on a Kindle is often a lot less stressful than drafting. Speaking of which... what inspired you to start with Finding Esta? 

Finding Esta began as a short story about a journalist investigating a haunted house. It grew and grew and within a week it became a monster, within a year it went from my first novel to a series. I fell in love with Luna and the world she discovers. What can I say? 

Hahahaha oh yes I know all about short stories becoming monsters. What is your favorite thing about writing Luna?

She's young, fragile, complicated. There's a lot of me in her in the first book (not youth - I'm 40!), but she slowly matures, blooms into a woman of strength, despite the rotten start to her life, despite the freaky genetics which rule her, and despite her own insecurities. But my favourite thing about her is that she is both magical and normal.

She sounds amazing. Want to tell us a bit more about where the book can be bought?

Well, I published it on Amazon a few days ago. It went to Review stage (which is normal and can last anything from 12 hours to a few days). But when I checked excitedly earlier today, it had reverted back to Draft? So I had to begin the review process again! Grr! Anyway, you'll find it once it's gone live (any day now) on my Amazon Author Page for $2.99. It's a pretty large book at 330 pages. But for those who are lucky enough to win one of five free e-copies, you'll get yours for Christmas. :) X




There you have it, lovely people! Here's some more info on Shah, the book, and the giveaway. 

Blurb:
An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.

When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnapping of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.

Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….

Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searching for logic, feeling deceived by both.

Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?

Author Biography:

She uses her imagination to write short stories as well as the poetry, but stumbled into her first novel, but falling in love with the character Luna in a short story she wrote 2010. It became grew into Finding Esta, the beginning of Luna’s journey to self-discovery. Finding Esta is her d├ębut novel and the first of The Supes Series. Shah began meeting authors and bookworms galore when she began blogging back in 2010. She’s learned a lot about blogging and writing on her adventure, mostly from the awesome advice of her online peer-group.

Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and picture enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her qualifications include BSc(Hons) psychology, counselling, mentoring.

She also has one short story published ‘The Dead Party’ & two poems published in anthologies.

Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive. She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.

Get Social With Shah






Click on the image to go to rafflecopter


What's your favorite part about writing, reading and/or watching a story? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Things seem to be coming together

Well... I finished summarizing Doorways, so I guess that the only thing that's needed is to sit down and do a synopsis. 

Problem is, I'm not dead sure as to what a synopsis entails, so I guess it's a ton of research waiting for me. 

In the meantime, my painting ended up coming together as I painted. It's actually very close to finished, now. I'm hoping to finish it by tomorrow. 

But, now we have visitors who'll be here for a few weeks, so I'm not sure about exactly how much I'll be able to get done. 

Maybe that's good, because it means that I'll actually get some rest. 

Or... it means I'll be waking up by 5 a.m. to get some stuff done. 

Could go either way. 

Do you also struggle to turn off, even when you know you should? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You know it's bad when procrastinating means you write a query instead.

Thanks so much for the comments to yesterday's post. I decided to stop whining and look at the query again.

Mistake I'd made this time: I put too much importance on it. You see... I'm not excluding any publishing method at this stage. The only reason why I'm querying now is so that I can say I tried it. If it fails, I'm not going to worry about it too much.

It just means I wasn't meant to go the traditional route. I'll take another.

In the mean time, I looked at my most recently drafted query. It sucked.

So I decided to take a completely new approach to the query and I think it's pretty dang good. Just waiting for the dust to settle, then I'll be editing it again.

In the mean time, I started the monumental task of summarizing Doorways so that I can write the synopsis. I have 70 chapters. So far, I've finished 13.

That's not the only monumental task I have in front of me. It's not even the most urgent  I have to finish my grandmother's painting. You know... the one that's supposed to be her Christmas gift.

I'm filled with jitters about it. It's all good and well to do one for myself, but this is for my Grandmother's Christmas present, so I really don't want to mess it up. But I only have 6 days and so much detail work to do that I'm terrified.

Sigh. Sorry if today's post is mixed up. I have a few too many things vying for my attention today.

Anyone else as messed up as me this time of the year? What do you need to get done and soon?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Query woes

I'm meeeeeltiiing!

Yeah... really. I wanted to do this post hours ago, but it was so hot that my only option was to stay in the pool until I resembled a raisin.

And then I remained in the water for an hour longer.

Which means, of course, that nothing I want to do is getting done. But while I'm there, I'm swimming and doing some resistance stuff, so at least I'm getting a bit fitter.

Other than that, I'm basically resisting the siren's call that is the Doorways sequel. Of course, there's nothing wrong with writing it per se... but it's a problem when I still haven't worked on the query or the synopsis like I'm supposed to.

That's a problem.

Thing is. I don't really know what to do with the query. Even an agent said that I should have people look it over, but all I get when I do that is more contradiction. How am I supposed to learn what I'm doing wrong when all I'm getting is some people saying add more and others saying take more away?

It just really annoys me. Then there's this situation where some agents insist that my sub-genre is unsellable, but when asked directly, agents say that there's no such thing.

...

So yeah... me wondering if it's even WORTH the effort isn't helping me get a new query done.

It's all just one big procrastination exercise right now.

Anyone else getting frustrated with queries?

I mean, I don't mind getting no's. But getting no's when I don't know what's turning the agents off really is starting to annoy me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Just some heads-ups (and to explain my sucky day)

Thanks so much for the encouragement and hugs I received on Friday.

I kind of spilled my heart on this subject today on TCoML, so I won't be writing much of a post here, except to say that the reason for my really shitty day and what I realized about it is in that post, if you want to go check it out.

Before you head over, though, I want to say thank you to everyone who expressed a willingess to help make next year awesome on this blog. I will definitely be putting out more details towards the start of the blogging season next year, since a lot of people who might love to take part will be away spending time with their families. But let me say, that if we get it right, this will be awesome for everyone who reads MFB.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ch-ch-changes!

As you may know by now, I'm busy going around and catching up on months' worth of return visits that I never got to do.

I can honestly say I'm loving this. It's just amazing to read what's going on with friends new and old.

In addition, it also got me thinking again about what I can do for next year to make things even better. I have a couple of original and not so original ideas kicking about, so as soon as I have them cemented in my head, I'll be sharing them in the new year.

One thing I will say, though, is that Guest Post Friday is at an end. BUT! I will be hosting regular guest posts and interviews. I'll just be doing things a liiiiittle differently to before.

Next year, I want to make the writing bloggosphere an even more awesome place, but I can't do it alone. Who's willing to help me? No help can be too big or too small and I'll NEVER let your help go unnoticed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blogging day

Hey there!

I'll be cheating today and getting some blog visits in. After all, I'm about 6 months behind.

See you around!

Misha

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cookies!



As you might or might not know, Angela Felsted is releasing her novel, Chaste. Because Quinn, the main character, is a teenage guy who knows how to cook, she invited me to take part in Quinn's Cookie Exchange. Basically, it involves bloggers posting some cookie recipes, so if you want to try some new ones for Christmas, please head over here to see when and where people posted some recipes.

Before we get to mine, though, I thought I'd give a bit more information on Chaste and its author. 

Blurb

When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner. Regrettably, he has no choice.

Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents’ attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn’s “fake” religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.

Purchase Links


Angela Felsted's profile photoAuthor Bio

Angela Felsted is a Northern Virginia native who is overly fond of Olive Garden and Red Lobster. She grew up in a faithful Mormon home with three brothers and one sister where she learned to stand up for herself by tickling her attackers until they broke out into laughing fits. Her work has appeared in issue fifteen of Drown in Your Own Fears, Chanterelle's Notebook and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Her chapbook, Cleave, was published by finishing line press in 2012.

And now... the cookies. 

This ginger biscuit recipe is a definite favorite in my family, because it combines the perfect amount of sweet with just the right amount of ginger zing. But be warned, this recipe can't be divided or multiplied and makes a pretty huge amount of biscuits. 

Also, it will involve you converting some metric measurements to imperial, since I have no idea how to convert "dry" milliliters into anything but dry milliliters, so I'll leave it to you knowledgeable cooks.  

Bake responsibly. ;-)

Ingredients: 

3 lbs flour
2 lbs brown sugar
25 milliliters cream of tartar
37.5 milliliters baking soda
1 lb butter
1 lb golden syrup
2-3 tablespoons fine ginger (to taste)
4 or 5 eggs (depending on size)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of instant coffee (one teaspoon instant granules in a cup of boiling water)

Method: 

1) Mix flour with cream of tartar and half the sugar. 
2) Mix in the butter with the above, crumbing the mixture with your fingers.
3) Whisk eggs, very thorough, adding in the other half of the sugar and the syrup. 
4) Make a hole in the result of step 2 and pour in the result of step 3. 
5) Dissolve baking soda in the cup of coffee and add to result of step 4.
6) Knead thoroughly and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (About 350 degrees Fahrenheit  for 10-12 minutes. 

Hope you enjoy them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Drafting for me

Thanks so much to the people who commented on Friday's post. You really talked me down from the panic I'd started to experience.

It really reminded me of something. No matter what people say, we writers have to trust our guts first.

I really stepped on a bad landmine with this WiP. Instead of worrying about the story, I worried about what people would think. I can't imagine an agent liking this. Or a reader liking it. Or even my CPs liking it. So I don't like it.

Thing is, writing a draft shouldn't be about what other people like. It's about what the story needs. Once the draft is done, I can look at it again and try to figure out how to make the story more tolerable for the people I mentioned above.

For now though, I shouldn't be worrying about them at all.

I should be writing the story according to its own internal logic. I should be discovering what that logic is. I should get to know and love my characters. I should discover the plot. At this stage, nothing else matters.

So that's what I'll do now. Just write, for me. Not worrying about what anyone might think of it. Heck, if no one likes the story by the end? So what? It's not like I'm writing only to publish. I can learn a lot just from writing. Things I can use for stories people do like. I won't be letting outsiders intrude on this draft again.

Do you also sometimes start to doubt yourself based on what other people might think about what you've written? How do you deal with it?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Not what I thought it would be

Thanks so much for the sympathy yesterday! Luckily it seems that I'm going through more of a cold than a flue, so it's a bit more manageable now that I have the medicine I need to keep it under control. 

In the mean time, I have something else niggling at me. I mentioned that I started another WiP after finishing the draft I'd picked for NaNo. It's another story I dreamed of way back while I was still drafting Doorways. I did some writing, and loved it. 

The voice was so good it felt and sounded as if someone sat next to me, telling the story. I put it away in the second chapter, though, because I was still writing Doorways and learning what it takes to finish a story. Other stories came after I completed the Doorways drafts, so this one stayed shelved. Still, I kept wondering if I shouldn't get back to it. 

So when it was the only story left available for me to NaNo, I decided to just write and learn what I could. Good idea in theory, but something odd happened. The characters did their own thing. The story veered in a new direction. 

And I don't know if I like it. It's just... so different from what I thought it would be. For one thing, it's no longer YA. For another... my strong female character managed to get herself enslaved to a guy of very dubious morality. 

Especially the latter has me seriously wondering what the hell is happening to my story. My gut says I should go with it and see what happens. After all, that's what pantsing is about. 

But I don't know. It's... just... not what I thought it would be. 

Anyone else go through something similar with a story you wrote? What did you do? How did it turn out? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Uuuuurgh.

It sucks when something doesn't go according to plan.

Yesterday, I mentioned that today would be so refreshing, because I'd be getting out of the house. 

Didn't work that way. I got the flu instead. 

Sigh. 

*throw bed covers over head*

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Still getting back on track...

I was planning to do a bit more of s substantial post, but I'm not really able to, because I had to go fetch a visa to Germany.

Besides, there's not much going on, so I can't really say much.

Soon though, I will. Tomorrow I'll probably get out of the house to work a bit outside, which can only be good for my creative resources.

Hopefully then, I'll be able to write some more before year-end.

Also, I hope to be able to visit some of your blogs soon. Miss you all!

What are you all doing?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A quick update

So... In the end I didn't hit 50k for NaNo. Got heart-breakingly close, though, at 41k.

In the end, my characters started doing weird things and I felt burn-out coming, so I decided to stop. Still, I do have a whole first draft and the start of another.

That's good enough for me.

I now have a rough idea for what needs to happen in the new WiP, so once I feel ready to write, it won't be as hard to get the words down, I don't think.

Other than that, though, things are quiet.

I have to get some painting done, but I just feel like messing about for a few days, so I'm playing computer games.

How are you doing? Who won NaNo? Who reached goals but didn't win? Who did neither? What are you all planning to do in December?

Monday, December 3, 2012

And she's back

Hey lovely people!

Just want to let you know that I'm back after a very busy November.

Will post something more substantial tomorrow.

Love,

Misha

Friday, November 30, 2012

Is My Blog a Success?

Thank you Misha for giving me the opportunity to take over your blog for the day. When I was first thought about the topic Keeping Track, I wasn’t quite sure which direction this post was going to take. I had several options: keeping track of my writing, keeping track of my schedule or perhaps keeping track of my life in general (to overwhelming at the moment to put into actual words).

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking to sign up to be a host on a blog tour. In the sign up process, they asked me the following questions:

· How many blog followers do you have?

· How many views does your blog get per day?

· How many Twitter Followers do I have?

· How many Facebook Friends do I have?

I felt kind of defeated because I didn’t want the worthiness of my blog to be based on the amount of people who actually saw it every day. I mean I put a lot of work into this thing. Doesn’t that count.

Well, unfortunately, for some, it doesn’t. For some, a successful blog is a blog with a 10,000 hits per day and 10,000 new followers every month.

I figured I didn’t have enough of any of them to be included on the blog tour or be a marketing benefit for any new book release. So, I shut down the questionnaire and went to check out what was happening on Twitter.

I am not in the habit of comparing myself to others. I like to think of myself as an individual, but not in a cooler then others kind of way. But, when asked to give my numbers my insecurities got the best of me, no way would I measure up.

Now, before you fill up the comments with encouragement and motivation, no worries I get it now. My thought process was ridiculous and way off.

There are millions of blogs on the web (not sure if that’s accurate, but I am trying to make a point here). In terms of views and followers, my blog has started slow, but my followers increase every week. My post schedule is consistent and I have a few weekly features people seem to like.

My twitter following is good and was built with persistence. I reluctantly created a Facebook profile, which I now love (FB Group are the best) and a Pinterest account. I don’t understand the purpose for that one, but am having a blast utilizing it for my own entertainment. BTW, if you want to comment on something, feel free to comment on the point of Pinterest. 

The time and work I put into my online profile is worth the effort and I am proud of it.

But, most importantly, I ‘ve met some great people since starting my blog. Real people (not little computer friends as my boss calls them) who read my posts religiously. Or at least skim my post religiously. They read my rants, raves and reviews and agree and/or disagree, but, always with an encouraging tone. At least that’s how I read it.

No matter the numbers, I am a successful blogger.

So, I decided not worry about keeping track of how I’m doing compare to others. I’ll continue on in my blog journey with my blog friends and the rest will take care of itself.

I went back and completed the blog tour host questionnaire and my numbers were more than adequate. I liked to give credit to my quality content and not because they didn’t have enough people signed up in the first place.



How do you define a successful blog? How do you measure up?

Blog: sydneyaaliyah.wordpress.com

Twitter: @sydliyah

Facebook: Sydney Aaliyah

Pinterest: Sydney Aaliyah





Happiness, Passion, Love & Faith

Friday, November 23, 2012

Time Management: Keeping Track

When Misha mentioned that her theme this month was keeping track, I immediately thought of time management.

Most writers are not blessed with being able to write full time. We have to balance work and family with that writing time.

And if you're self-publishing (like I chose to do) time-management becomes an even bigger issue. There's no editor or agent to give you deadlines or reminders to keep working. You're on your own.

So how do you make the best use of your time? Here's my list of suggestions. I wrote them specifically for writers, but you can expand this to apply to most activities.

1. Commit

The very, very first step to improve time management is to make a mental commitment to your new schedule. If you don't want to improve your time management, you probably won't.

So start by listing your goals. Perhaps you want to set aside time to write for one hour every day (that's my usual time goal). Maybe you want to focus on reading more. Whatever it is, list your goals, and make a promise to yourself to commit. 

2. Keep the goals realistic

I am so guilty of this, especially around New Year's. I make all these crazy resolutions, like I'll go running for an hour every day, or I'll cook dinner every evening (yeah, right).

Figure out what is realistic for you. Once again, if it's a big change, you're less likely to follow through. Start with one small change (like setting aside 30 minutes a day for writing), and then build up to something bigger.

3. Figure out your most productive hours

I am definitely an early bird. My most productive time of day is 6 AM, when I have the first mug of coffee in my hands.

But I know not everyone is like that. Honestly assess yourself and decide when during the day you're most productive. Maybe inspiration hits during your lunch break. Maybe your best ideas coming after dinner. Make sure you're setting up your block of writing time to coincide with when you do your best work. 

4. Write it down. 

There's nothing like seeing your schedule in black in white (or on the computer screen, as the case may be).

Personally, I am a Google Calendar addict. When I'm not writing, I'm tutoring, so I use Google Calendar to keep my schedule straight. 

I set up a block most mornings to write. The nice thing about Google Calendars is that it will sync up to my phone, so I can always keep track of my schedule.

The other nice thing is that you can leave event notes. For my writing blocks, I'll leave a note with how many words I wrote that day. It helps me to track my progress and keep me motivated toward my goal. 

5. Find a way to enforce your deadlines

It can be hard to hold ourselves accountable, so find a way to set some kind of enforcement for your deadlines.

For my first book, 'Bright Star', I was having trouble keeping myself motivated through the editing phase. To keep myself on track, I booked a freelance editor about 8 weeks in advance. My deadline then became getting through all of my corrections and rewrites BEFORE I sent my work off to my editor. Having another person to be accountable to makes a world of difference.

Don't have an editor? Then set up a deadline with a friend or relative. You can agree to show them a draft of your work X weeks out. Knowing that another person is counting on your work definitely helps motivation. 

6. REWARD YOURSELF

This is my favorite step. If you meet your goals (i.e. -- writing for an hour every day for a month, or getting your draft ready before your deadline), treat yourself to something! You've earned it. Whether it be a nice dinner out, a bottle of wine, or some cheesecake (oh, yum, cheesecake), giving yourself a little pat on the back makes it easier to stay motivated to make the best use of your time.



**********

You can find Nickie Anderson on her blog.

Her first book, 'Bright Star', was released November 9th. It is available at the following retailers:





It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches the Bright Star fall out of the sky. 

The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Since it's already Thursday here

Just want to wish all my U.S. blogging friends a happy Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful time with your families.

Misha

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Puzzled musings of a writing rebel

I wonder what it is about NaNo that makes people think that drafts have to be 50 000 words long. I mean, I announced my completing a story draft, wanting to share my joy with others who would understand. 

... Uhm... seems I made a slight wrong assumption on that count. Although you ladies and gents who read my blogs are overwhelmingly supportive, twitter and NaNo wasn't as much. 

It's odd. 

Not that the people there were mean or anything, but they keep commenting on my 18k shortfall. Or saying I should do whatever I can to pad the story and win. 

All I want to know is why? NaNo is about writing a rough draft that can be worked into something more. So if I got to that point at 10k, I would have made the same announcement. Or any other number. If I hadn't found the right formula, I would have kept going to 50k. But no. My lucky number for this story was 32k. It's done. 

Why will I mess around with backstory and all sorts of nonsense in search of 18k I don't need? It's a waste of time, if I'm honest. 

It just puzzles me in the same way the issue's cousin has me scratching my head. Why do some writers thing their way is the only way to write? 

It's the best way for them, yes. But why would that give them a reason to look down their noses at every single other method out there. And trust me. There are as many methods as there are writers. 

Why must everyone conform to a single way of doing things? Doesn't that defeat the object of artistic expression? 

Thoughts? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I will be continuing with NaNo after all...

As I mentioned last night, I finished a draft in 16 days. Which is, if I say so myself, a marvelous achievement.

But... There are still 18k words left before I can win NaNoWriMo and when I woke up, I started thinking. What would it matter if I started on another story? 50k is 50k, right?

So yeah, I'm going to dust off a story I put on the shelf long ago.

Unlike before, though, I won't be pushing as hard, because I can feel something lurking that I don't like.

Fatigue. I'm feeling tired, even though I want to continue writing, so I'll just go on at a somewhat relaxed pace and see how far I get. Especially since this story isn't nearly as ripe in my mind as the one I finished had been. This might be much slower going, but hey, I'll have more than I did before.

Do you also slow down when you feel fatigue coming on?

Monday, November 19, 2012

So it happened again...

It happened again. I'm stopping NaNoWriMo short of winning.

BUT

Not because it isn't working right. It's just that...

Well... even when I take years to write drafts, I finish my rough drafts.... unfinished.

There are many reasons for this. Mainly, it's because of the way I write. My process looks like this:

Step 1: Rough draft. Mess around. Meet characters. Find the ones you like. Get a feel for the story. Keep going until the whole idea solidifies in my head.

Step 2: Rewrite. On computer. Creating a plan based on what I learnt during the rough draft. What did I like about the plot? What deserved more attention? Etc. All that gets taken into account. Then I write the whole thing again, remembering the main aspects, but only referring to the story every now and then. Point being to write a better version of the same story.

Step 3: Revisions and edits. Improving the story without markedly changing the plot. Some emphasis shifting can be done.

Step 4: Finishing up. The final polishes before seeing the story as finished.

Of course, these steps are usually subdivided further, but you get the gist.

Point is, I've now reached the point in my rough draft where I've learnt what I can learn. I'm still 18k away from my NaNoWriMo win, but after futilely trying for three days to churn out words, I realized that anything past the point I'd finished on then would be a waste of my time.

Thus, the title refers to me once again having missed the completion of my rough draft, exactly the same way I did with Doorways. 

Oh well.

Anyone else leave their rough drafts unfinished and focus on rewrites, edits and so on?

And just so you know, I finished a rough draft in 16 days. Which is a tiny fraction of time compared to what it took me to finish the same amount of words for Doorways. Excuse me while I go dance. ;-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When the going got tough, I kept going. And it worked!

Just a short message from my NaNo process I thought I'd share.

Remember when I said I had a hard time because the story and characters kept fighting me? Well... it took a week of writing through wool.

It was painful. It was difficult. It was a constant battle trying to find words and knowing what happens next.

Then it was week 2. THAT week. The one where things become more difficult because the story really needs to start going places by now.

I was in a panic about that, because unlike most WriMo's, I didn't even have the advantage of the beginner's thrill. That I'd lost by day 3.

Still, after some encouragement from two ladies I met for a write-in, I decided to keep trying. It was even harder and I started to foresee the onset of Saggy Middle Syndrome. You know the one. Where you have no idea where the story is going any more, so it sags right where it's supposed to be growing in excitement.

I despaired of my hopes to ever win a NaNo, but on the evening of day 8, something wonderful happened.

My female main character decided to take a new course of action. It changed everything. Set up the conflicts, stakes, everything. It was as if the gates of writerly heaven swung open and I could just keep going.

That feeling is still there. I'm so excited to keep going.

I think... Dare I say it?

I think I'll make it.

How are things going for you - NaNo or no?

Missing you all! X

Friday, November 9, 2012

Keeping Track

Keeping Track


Well, to be honest, I’m still fairly new to the whole blogging world… (though I don’t know how much longer I can continue to consider myself a new blogger. Haha)

So, bear with me and hopefully this post will be helpful in some way!

The theme is Keeping Track…and this is so broad and vague I could go many ways with it. I suppose though, I’ll mention what is the best thing for me about keeping track of things.

See, not only am I a book blogger, but I'm an aspiring author, much like our wonderful host, Misha. In my long journey over the last 3 years, I think the best thing is being able to track my progress. I started out writing my first novel only because I thought the idea was finally good enough. I have a ton of ideas, but before that time, I just threw them away, never fully developing them into something more.

But when I came up with the idea for POWER, I thought- This is good!

So I started writing. But I don’t have much time. I have to find time and make time specifically for my writing. Anyways, it took me 2 years to finish the first rough draft of Power. At that time, it was called The Descendant and totaled 50,000 words

Then I strengthened the idea, added more conflict. Had 2 beta readers (plus my mom) read it and critique it. And I added more. I added more love and more character depth. It was 65,000 words.

Then I thought it was done. Until I realized it was still missing something, but I couldn’t figure out what. I knew the ending was sorta anti-climactic… but I didn’t know how to fix it.

Until I realized. I needed MORE tension. I needed something MORE that she would be fighting for, so I added the impending Apocalypse.

Now its done, (at 78,000 words) and I'm almost done with the rough draft of HOPE (the Descendant Trilogy #2)

I think the best thing of keeping track of all this, is to see my progress. Where I came from, and where I'm going!

What about you? What is the best part of keeping track of something for YOU?

Summary:

Thousands of years after the battle between the angels, when Lucifer was defeated by Michael in the Heavens, the war is still being fought on Earth by the humans who have their Power, the Angel’s Power.
Allison Stevens is a 21 year old single mother who gets thrown into the middle of this battle when Damien, the Leader of the Rising, decides to hunt her down and kill her because he fears she is the descendant prophesied to save the world.

David, a member of the Order, takes Allison under his wing in order to show her the ropes, and hopefully groom her into being the one they have been waiting for. The only problem is that they start to grow more attached than a teacher/student relationship should allow.

But that isn’t all. Damien wants to open the Seven Seals and bring about the apocalypse and it’s up to Allison to not only save herself and her family, but save the world, all while trying to keep her heart from breaking.

No problem… right?

Bio:
Theresa M Jones is just a regular small town, Texas girl. When she isn't at work at a local Medical Equipment provider,you can find her at home with her husband and two beautiful (and rambunctious) kiddos.

In her spare time- as if there ever was such a thing as "spare time" - she reads and reviews books on her book blog, and writes paranormal romance novels.

POWER (The Descendant Trilogy #1) is her debut New Adult (Mature YA) Paranormal Romance novel.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A quick proof of life.

Hi just to let you know, week 1 of NaNo has been somewhat of a pain in the neck to get through, which is why I was so silent the past few days. Hopefully I'll either find my stride or quit this coming week, so that I can at least get to some sort of routine that can include blogging again.

What's news on your end? Any NaNo'ers? How are you getting along? And what the heck are you doing here?! Go write!

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNo doubts

Sorry if today's post comes out reading and feeling a tad... lumpy. I'm currently super focused on my NaNo project, so any other writing is going to suffer.

This could have been my IWSG post, but since I have a bigger writerly concern as well, I figured I could write about this today.

You see... I have sort of started to doubt if I'll be able to get as far with my NaNo project as I did last year. 2011 saw me writing 25k in about ten days before I froze up and shelved the WiP. But right up to 25k, it was frighteningly easy to write.

This year, though, my story took me by surprise. I thought it would be just a nice run-of-the-mill we-will-prevail sort of dystopian.

Should have known my muse wouldn't be this easy on me. No. I somehow managed to stumble onto a psychological pea soup. Day one went well, but after that, it feels like I'm writing through wool.

It isn't the same feeling as I get while blocking, though. I know what has to happen next and every successive scene comes to me easily. It's just that when I start writing, things are hard.

I think it's because my female main character has grown up in more shit than I originally thought and her mind's workings keep making it hard for me to write her thoughts. Hard... It's actually more like I'm bashing my head against a wall.

My male main character isn't much better. He's not quite the idealist I thought he was, so his approach to revolution is sort of... unnerving.

All this adds up to probably the most difficult book I've ever attempted. Including Doorways.

Not sure if I can do this, but I have to try.

Have you ever written a story that fought you all the way? Did you make it through to the end or did you give up?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oh Fudge.

Sigh... Sorry about this guys! I'm so disappointed right now. I never got today's post, which sucks, because I had two other offers for today and declined.

Still, I know the person supposed to do today has been having some health issues, so I just hope she's okay.

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I chose my NaNo Project like this.

Yesterday, I did quite a few writerly things.

I finished the final edits.

I rewrote my query. It's now resting on my computer, waiting for me to edit it.

I also finally decided what I'd be writing about for NaNoWriMo. It's the original draft and not the rewrite. The reason: I can stay in draft mode longer.

If I did the rewrite, my plan would look like this:

1) Rewrite WiP3
2) Draft WiP5 while 3 rests.
3) Revise 3 while 5 rests.
4) Rewrite 5 while 3 rests.
5) Edit 3 while 5 rests.
Problem: The fact that I'd have to hop between edit and draft modes in steps 2-5, which, if you're familiar with me, you'd know is something I hardly ever manage well. In fact, WiP2 and 3 have gone untouched for a YEAR because I was busy editing Doorways. 

But I've now decided to do things like this. Of course Doorways querying etc. will continue on top of all this.

1) Draft WiP5
2) Rewrite WiP3 while 5 rests.
3) Rewrite 5 while 3 rests.
4) Revise 3 while 5 rests.
5) Revise 5 while 3 rests.
6) Alternate edits to 3 and 5 as needed.

See? Everything follows nicely so that I don't have to hop between edit mode and draft mode. So I can lock up my inner editor for months, potentially, except of course if I have to tweak Doorways a little.

So yeah, a distinctively dispassionate way to chose projects, but by yesterday, I still hadn't had a clue as to what I wanted to write more.

Have you ever used logic to work out which project you should be working on? Did you obey it in the end?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Editing

Hi all! Just want to let you know I might be taking the rest of today and tomorrow off to finish edits before November.

See you soon!

X

Friday, October 26, 2012

Overcoming Your Fear of Blogging

Hello Everyone in Misha-Land! Thanks so much for having me.

Today I’m going to share with you my fears about writing and what scares me to death when I sit down to blog each week. It’s a little bit dramatic, a lot personal and even more so about conquering my fear of hitting “submit” at the end of writing a post.

I have been journaling since I was a child and began blogging on Livejournal in 2000. These posts were filtered for only friends and acquaintances to see to keep up with my life. For a long time, I found much rejection from people who read my posts. I was judged in times of great pain, gossiped about when happy and general raked over the coals for being myself. It made my life a living hell because I also saw many of these people socially.

It seemed these “friends” didn’t know me as well as I thought. I slowly phased them out of my blog filter, one at a time. Eventually, I was at the point where every post I wrote felt it should be made private. I marveled at the point of that. I didn’t want to write my thoughts and feelings just for me, I wanted to share my life and connect with others as well.

For a time, I gave up blogging. My heart just wasn’t in it. I sat on the idea of wanting to blog for a few years but wasn’t sure how to start up again. I didn’t have any friends who blogged anymore and to write for the whole public to see, even though I knew I’d be lucky to get one or two readers, was terrifying. I had something to share that was important to me but I needed others to see it, otherwise I may as well be talking to myself.

I had so many questions this time around. What if I was rejected for being myself again? Should I put on a happy face and only post about specific topics, such as knitting? Or could I sprinkle in posts about how I’m feeling in my life as things happen? How much of me should I put out there? What if something I posted upset someone and made me lose friends again? (It did, but it was bound to happen.) What if a future employer read things they didn’t like? Would I not get hired?

I decided to take the plunge anyway. I created a new public blog and gave myself a fresh start. I chose not to tell anyone about it until I had a decent amount of content posted, as I was still feeling very insecure about the entire process. I fumbled my way through post after post, trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I was still struggling with how much of me to put out there and couldn’t see my way around it!

One morning, I stumbled across an article about this very topic. It spawned a great post that has changed the way I write my own blog. I instantly overcame my fear and now write whatever I want about anything I want without trepidation.

This is my advice to any writer, whether you are already published or just starting out, whether writing a book or a blog: Be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. You are one of a kind! Go share it with the world, it needs your voice. Hit “submit” already!

Bio 

Shannon Hunter is an Apparel Design & Merchandising major at WSU in Pullman, WA. She is also the fashion columnist for the university’s newspaper, “The Daily Evergreen”, and has her own blog here. She is an aspiring fiction writer who will be attempting NaNoWriMo 2012 in November and has been blogging since 2000. She hopes her urban fantasy trilogy will become a best-seller and allow her to design clothing and accessories on the side. Currently, she writes for several blogs, studies too much and spends more time knitting than she should.



Thank you very much for your inspiring post, Shannon. I also found out who my friends were when I started blogging. Anyone else have that experience?

Before I go, I just want to ask for some volunteers. Next week, I still have no takers and I don't know why. :-( It's a great way to get exposure to new bloggers and it's a lot of fun. I even give a them to inspire your thinking process without limiting your topics too much. November's them is Keeping Track. See? Easy. I also need a guest post for the 9th, and they're the last open GPF slots for the year, so if you're interested, please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Edit: Thank you very much for the good response. More people than required volunteered to post for the next two Fridays! You guys continue to be awesome! X

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just a quick thank you! (And a please help)

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I completely lost track of time editing.

Today I’m away from home, so I won’t be doing anything long. Just want to give a shout-out to everyone who commented over the past two days with tips and links for writing a synopsis.

Thanks so much!

X

P.S. Since you're all such awesome people, I want to ask one more thing. For some reason, the Fridays of 2 and 9 November just haven't been booked. It's really a shame, because its been a lot of fun and I want to see the November ending on a high point. Please please pretty please? 

The theme's so easy. Keeping track. It could practically be about anything writing, or lit world related. 

If you're interested, please mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

As a result of NaNo...

As I mentioned before, I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo this year.

Because I actually want to continue querying through November, I decided to give Doorways one last look-over. The way I see it, if the story is as polished as it will get, won't have to worry about anything except copy/pasting into the query.

I plan to do the same with my query letter. Another version will be coming out, although I don't know what it will look like yet. All it know is it better be better than any of the previous ones.

Lots and lots of Query Shark readings will ensue.

Then there's another monster lurking in the querying waters: the dreaded synopsis. About 80% of my expanded agent list has at least a 1 page synopsis as part of their submission requirements.

Uhm...

I don't have a CLUE how to write a synopsis.

Any good query and synopsis links for me?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ghost


Hi all! Today I welcome Lee to MFB. She's going to show off her writing chops to tell us about some scares she had in her house. She's a wonderful lady, so if you want to find out more about her and her writing, please go say hi on her blog.

Take it away, Lee!



I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t. Really. But . . .

Our house was built in the 1930’s as a mountain cabin for people from San Francisco who wanted to escape the city and live among the redwoods. We remodeled it when we moved in, adding a couple of rooms and reconfiguring the entrances and exits. I’m telling you this because it’s important to my story. 

A few years ago things started appearing on stairs, on counters, and always in the original parts of the house. A red scarf came first, and I asked every one of my friends who’d visited in the previous month if it was theirs. “No.” was each person’s answer. I finally gave it away and forgot about it. I wouldn't have remembered it, except a few months later, I tripped over a pile of combs and ribbons on the stairs up to my bedroom. I’m the only female who lives here. Still I discounted it. There had to be a logical explanation. 

Then one day I went to my jewelry drawer to put on my favorite pearl earrings and there was only one in my jewelry box. I searched. I cleaned drawers. I accused my family of playing tricks on me and trying to make me think I was losing it. First things appeared, and then they disappeared, and I was getting a bit cranky. 

After three years passed, I decided that earring was gone forever, so I had a jeweler make a matching one for me. I brought the two earrings home, opened my jewelry box to put them safely away, and there in the drawer was my long lost pearl earring. I don’t know how to explain why I have three pearl earrings, but I do. 

Nothing else has happened for years, but a friend who spent the night in the old bedroom swears a ghost visited him. He described how a woman (At first he thought it was me.) entered the room. He said she ran her hand along the books on the shelf near the bed, then walked into the closet. That closet is located where the old entrance to the bedroom used to be. My theory, if I believed in ghosts, would be that the ghost knew her way around the old house and thought the closet was still the way out. Well, for her it was. She didn’t reappear, according to my guest. He’d never heard my stories about the appearing and vanishing items. He’s also never spent the night with us again.

Brrrrrr.... creepy. Thanks for the story, Lee!

I have two slots left. The dates are: 2 and 9 November. The them: Keeping Track. This could literally be about anything in writing within this theme. Or even if you want to follow Lee's example, a story you want to tell. If you're interested, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A-NaNo'ing I'll go...

Hi all! Sorry for not posting yesterday. Had to entertain someone with whom my business works.

Anyway, I have a tiny announcement to make.

I decided to give NaNo another try. But this year I'll probably shut up about it on my blog.

Although I realized that I don't draft fast and probably never write 50k words in one month, I know that I'll be able to kick start my drafting again after a year-long dry-spell.

Only thing is, I don't know what I'm going to write. I have the rewrite to last year's NaNo figured out and I have a completely new story.

Both are awesome.

I guess I'll decide on November 1.

Anyone else doing NaNo this year? I'm iceangel, if you want to buddy up.

How do you pick the projects you'll write for NaNo?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DINYB Blogfest: Jodi McIsaac




Today I'm taking part in the Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest. Basically, I pick a book that caught my eye and blog about it. Then I see if the author actually finds the post.




Without contacting her directly. So, bloggy friends, this is where you come in. Please spread the word that I'm looking for her and maybe awesomeness will happen and she'll stop by.

This is the book I picked:



Through the Door by Jodi McIsaac. The title caught my eye first, but I adore the cover (although I think the title could be more prominent). Here's what the story is about:

Celtic mythology and the modern world collide in Through the Door, the first book in the new urban fantasy series The Thin Veil.

Cedar McLeod lives an ordinary but lonely life, raising her six-year-old daughter Eden on her own while trying to balance the demands of her career and the expectations of her mother. Everything seems normal until the day Eden opens her bedroom door and finds herself half a world away – and then goes missing. Suddenly, Cedar realizes her daughter is anything but normal.

In a desperate search for answers, Cedar tries to track down Eden’s father, who mysteriously disappeared from her life before Eden was born. What she discovers is far beyond anything she could have imagined. As she joins unlikely allies in the hunt for her daughter, Cedar finds herself torn between two worlds: the one she thought she knew, and one where ancient myths are real, the stakes are impossibly high, and only the deepest love will survive.


Sounds great, doesn't it? Definitely a book for my TBR list.

Would it have caught your eye? Will you help me spread the word? And Ms. McIsaac, are you here yet?

Monday, October 15, 2012

A little bit of housekeeping

So... I decided to change my blogs' looks.

It took me 12 darn hours to manage, because I had to change some html codes. Well... more specifically, I changed them, saved them and checked, but the blogs didn't change.

Yeah. Annoying as hell, because as far as I could discover, there was nothing to do but repeat the process again and again until it worked.

But yeah. I think it's worth it, don't you?

For one thing, the comments should be more visible.

OOOH! Speaking of comments. I've received more than a few messages with regards to the comments. Apparently some people just can't seem to comment on my blog. NO idea why. I do notice, though, that more than a few of them use wordpress.

So here's my question: Who would (for whatever reason) prefer if I cross-posted to my wordpress blog? The posts' content will be available. But maybe it would be more convenient for you? If it is, please send me a mail and let me know: mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

On an unrelated note, I removed the lists of blogs I follow. For some reason, they were grossly out-of-date and for some reason they refused to accept wordpress blogs. I will gradually build them back up, though, in another format.

That's me for today.

What do you think about the new look? Any niggles you'd prefer me to fix while I'm at it? Think it's a good idea for me to cross-post?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Starting Out as a Film Critic

Thank you Misha for having me over here today.

You might know I write movie reviews. It took patience to acquire the love for film criticism. If you aren’t passionate about writing, your journey will feel like a chore.

I began blogging six months ago and it has changed tremendously how much time I spend writing. I comment on blogs most of the time and forget about writing. Social media is an expert at doing this to writers: more time on the internet and less time writing.

It took half of my life to realize writing is what I want for a career. Yes, I’ve always loved writing but never did I take the plunge on it right away. I was too scared to begin with because the writing business is competitive.

The less I write, I’m more perceptible to losing the ambition. If I simply don’t write, my dedication will decline. I’ll realize I’m writing less often when I should be writing my heart out. I don’t want this happen but it’s always in the ballgame with the blogosphere in my distraction.

It’s difficult to discover inspiration as an aspiring writer. You run out of original ideas and then what, visit the store and shop for some ideas? This isn’t the case for writers. You must climb up a steep mountain for several years only to find nothing at all.

If I don’t have ideas, I can’t write anything. It’s hard to come up with something right away. It takes staring off in space for hours until you find a piece of gold. Some people may question you, “What are you staring at?” Then you have to explain your story, “I’m an aspiring writer. I have to come up with ideas for my novel and blog.” People are very understanding especially when they can relate to you.

This is what I love about the blogosphere: you meet writers who understand what you’re going through. I don’t want to lose these friends that I’ve made and they amaze me every day.

I fear what every writer fears: losing the enthusiasm for writing and running out of ideas. You’re not alone, guys. We are all in the same boat, taking different writing journeys.

Bio

Livia Peterson is an aspiring film critic. She’s been writing film reviews since 2010 and has enjoyed every minute of it. She currently resides in Wisconsin with her family. You can check out her blog here.




Thanks so much for this guest post, Livia. I know exactly what you mean. 

Before I go, a little admin: I still have two more Guest Post Friday's available for the rest of the year: 2 and 9 November. The theme is Keeping Track. If you want to book one, please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail.com.

Have a great weekend all!

What's your biggest scare or writing fear? Want to write a guest post about it. ;-)
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to lose 4000 words in eight days - the good way.

I needed a bit of a break from thinking about writing, so I took a bit of a break, but I just thought I'd share how my editing went.

Well... My writing was tighter than I thought, but I still cut over 4000 words out of it.

I only took out maybe four tiny scenes.

Would you like to know my secret?

Yes?

Well...






I read most of the book out loud. Yeah I know, tedious as hell, but one thing it does do is keep me focused on flow. When I read out loud, I immediately notice when the flow's off. Or when the sentences are boring.

Another thing I got a lot was over-writing. If I said the sky is blue once, I don't have to say it again two seconds later if it isn't important to the story. So the best way I said it stays. The other doesn't.

Sentences running too long when they sound better shortened got split. When you split a sentence, you tend to lose words. "Ands", "buts", "ases", "becauses" etc. become unnecessary. He did something as another thing happened could possibly become Something happened. He did something. Depending on the sentence's complexity, I lost at least a word.

Cutting to necessities, I changed phrases like: The exterior of the house to The house's exterior. Two words gone because I changed the sentence. Another favorite: was "verb"-ing. The "was" goes the minute I simply change sentence's tense.

Switching sentences to cut passive tense can lose three or four words for you.

Finally, I have one special word: that. I can't believe how it infested my writing. I probably found five (yes. FIVE) sentences with three (yes. THREE) "thats" in them. *shudder*

Probably an anticlimactic answer to those of you who are new to editing. Still, one or two words per sentence might not sound like a lot, but when you're dealing with thousands of sentences, those little bits at a time add up.

I probably cut many more words than 4000, but I had to put some in here and there to focus the characters' motivations a bit more and so on.

What do you cut when you want to pare down words?



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A ramble about my life, for a change.

... I had something to write for this post, but after doing some major shifts in my life, I just... Don't... know what to say.

Well... for one thing I'm back. Finished my edits on Monday. Yes, damned fast, but then this was a read through to catch flow issues, so speed might have been a good thing.

Took yesterday to query again, so now I'm back on needles and pins, waiting to hear back from agents.

Basically I've quit something that made a rather significant impact on my life for two years. It feels strange. I'm liberated. I suddenly have five free hours a week. I hadn't had so much time since before I got my degree.

Still... I established a sort of relationship with the people I'd worked with. So now I feel a little bad. It's not one of those: "HA! see how you deal without me!" moments.

It's more of a regret that I couldn't do more. I started out so optimistic and excited. Now I have nothing left. I'd put in way too much and nothing changed for the better.

Maybe it's wrong with me, but there are three things I hate above all in this world: 1) Hypocrisy 2) Complacency and 3) Stupidity.

By stupid, I'm referring to people refusing to learn. For two years, we've been dealing with a two consecutive leaders going with one thing, despite us (who actually see the effects) complaining repeatedly that what they were doing weren't working.

Furthermore, just going along and getting by isn't enough. It doesn't even approach RIGHT. And since they didn't listen, it just continued.

#1 is aimed at me though. I hate hypocrisy in other people, so I make a point of rooting it out in myself as far as I can. And when I have a blog about how to be happy and how happy I am, being unhappy to the point of crying yesterday just isn't an option for me.

Those aren't necessarily the reasons why I quit, but they're the reasons why I'm damn glad I did.

What about you? Have you made any big changes in your life after realizing some things made you unhappy?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Interview Day: Brooke R. Busse

Hi all! Welcome to another interview. Today I'm posting the chat I had with Brook a couple of months ago. 

First things first. Tell us a bit more about yourself?

Okay, start with a hard one right off the bat. Hmm... Well, I'm still in high school. I love all things nerdy. You can tell that just from looking at my YouTube subscriptions. I love that amazing feeling you get when a story idea falls into your head. Lucky for me, I have that feeling a lot. I'm very anal retentive. Um, sometimes I make random noises when I'm sitting at the computer. My best friend has gotten where she doesn't even react anymore. And I'm currently obsessed with "The Walking Dead." See, this is why this is a hard question. First I can't think of anything and then the things I think of are all totally unrelated. Glad my writing isn't like that! 

Hahaha so what do you write? 

I write a lot of things. My current WIP focus is an upper YA/possibly NA light sci fi. At least, I think. I'm working on planning a dystopian that revolves around marriage for my next project. Other works are supernatural or fantasy. However, I like to try my hand at contemporary occasionally, though none of my completed longer works are solely in that genre. I also enjoy writing short stories and poetry. So basically, I write what my ideas tell me to.

How many works have you completed?

It depends on what you mean by "completed." I've finished four rough drafts. I have yet to actually finish revising and editing a novel.

Is there a reason why you haven't started revising?

It's not that I haven't started, I'm revising the aforementioned WIP right now. I'm just never finished doing it. I've been writing seriously for about three years. Almost an entire one of those years was spent rewriting a different project. My first drafts come quickly. The rest, not so much. It's mostly because I'm pretty scared I have no idea what I'm doing.

Ah I see. So do you love all your project equally, or do you have a pet project that you can't let go?

I'm all about equality. ;) My love for my projects is very intense and usually the most obvious for the project I'm currently working on or thinking about. However, I can get that intense love for any of my projects at about the same magnitude.

It's almost the same with me, although I find that my love for the Doorways series far outstrips the others. How do you go about writing? Do you have a routine or do you write when your mood strikes?

I wish I had a routine. The only issue with that is routines tend to add stress to my life. I feel like I have to conform to those expectations no matter what. I'm still working on having a routine and being flexible at the same time. 

I know what you mean. I also have a sort of routine, but it's flexible. Can you tell us a bit about your WiPs?

Another hard one. As I've already mentioned, my current focus WIP is an upper YA/NA light sci-fi. The MC has a genetic mutation that allows her body to send out vibrations at a specific wavelength. This wavelength gives her the ability to control thoughts. She is what is called a Controller, or Trol for short. She tries to break into a government facility in order to save child Trols that have been taken for research. The current WIP that I am outlining is a dystopian based around marriage. I'm still working out the kinks. For more details on these and other projects you can check out the Projects page on my blog.

Sounds like a great story. What's your favorite part of the process and why?

Thanks, Misha. ^^ My favorite part of the process would be anything that inspires new ideas for the story. This most often occurs during outlining, but it can happen during the actual writing as well.

When I was a plotter, I used to outline on sticky notes. What do you use? How do you approach outlining?

I use a sheet of paper or a legal pad to write out the major plot points in the order I think they should go in. I collect tidbits of worldbuilding and character names and relationships. No farther than that. It takes the excitement and thrill of discovery out of the writing.

I know what you mean. The thrill of discovery is so important to keeping my interest in a a story I'm writing. Last question: Where can people find you on the internet?

Of course I have my blog 




Thanks so much for this great interview, Brooke! I loved to learn more about your writing and method. All the best with your writing and revisions. 

Before I go though, just want to remind you all that I have a Friday open for a guest post on October 19th. Theme is scares, which is something every writer faces. Want to help me out? Please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Then I want to ask: Who has any good revision tips?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: In the Query Trenches



Just putting in a quick post to let you know how I'm doing.

Well... I found a major issue with the query for Doorways, so now I have a new and infinitely shinier version.

Has the character's voice and everything.

BUT, the tally on the previous query letter is as follows.

Queries sent: 5
Rejections: 3

Of which: 1 was a form letter which I assume came from the intern, 1 was a form letter which I assume came from the agent and 1 (received today) was a personalized letter.

Didn't get crit on any, but from the last reply: "With regret, though, I'm afraid the material didn't draw me in as much as I had hoped."

It basically tells me two things, although somewhat conflicting. 1) That my story and query letter was okay. 2) That they can be tightened up.

Which is great to know, because as it happens, I decided to go through my story one more time. Already I've found LOTS of places where I could say things better. Also, I find a lot of things where I said almost the identical thing a few sentences before that. So those are going.

So I'm far from giving up. But right now I'm trying to cut out wordage, because I think it's the reason for the first two form rejections. Not sure why, but call it a hunch.

But yeah. That's me for today. Who else is querying? Editing?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Siiiiiigh...

So... I'm reading through Query Shark's queries, trying to see if I'm doing anything wrong with my query.

Can't see anything, but there's one thing that's niggling....

It's been bothering me for a while, but I think Doorways needs another go-over. Just to make sure all the unnecessary stuff is gone.

That's what I'll be doing now, so I'll see you on Wednesday! (There's an interview tomorrow, so I won't be doing any serious writing.)

Have you ever thought you were done, only to realize you're not?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Marketing for the Self Published Writer


Hi all! Today I welcome Beth Fred to MFB. When I first met her, she was busy with a challenge to (I believe) read 52 books in a year. Which is a marvelous feat. Now she's mainly doing reviews of stories she's read. She's really sweet and her reviews are REALLY honest, which makes her blog a pleasure to read, so head over and say hi.

Take it away Beth!



 

Marketing for the Self Published Writer


Believe it or not marketing begins with the title. Choosing a good title is your first line of offense. True, if the title is unique enough it will stay in the back of a potential reader’s mind, but there is a more common sense reason than that. In 2010 I went to the bookstore to buy Sea, but there were so many books with Sea in the title I picked up the wrong one by accident. Sea Changed was a good book, but I still haven’t read Sea. So recently, I put my short story originally titled Fate on goodreads and found almost 3000 records for Fate, some bestsellers. Not only am I sure the bestsellers book is going to pop up before mine, it’s 3000 chances for someone to find a different book. (And lots of books called Fate are romances—same genre). I went with Kismet. It didn’t change the meaning, but is more unique.

Almost as important as the title is the cover. We’ve all heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but I think in honesty most of us would have to admit we’ve picked up a book based on the cover. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a professionally designed cover will go a long way towards making your book sellable.

Arrange a blog tour, preferably two months before the book is released. But if your late to the boat (and I was) it’s better late than never. It would be helpful to have hosts in your genre, but it’s okay to have hosts outside of your genre too. My first release is adult, but most of what I write is YA. I am thankful that the YA community has supported me anyhow. If you’re not able to arrange a blog tour on your own, use a company to do it for you.

If you’re planning a series, use book 1 as pre-marketing for book 2. Get your first book as out there as you can and let that build momentum for the rest of the series.

I know this is basic stuff, but I wanted to talk about it because it’s stuff a traditionally published writer wouldn’t have to worry about. And because it is so common sense, I think it gets overlooked a lot.



Tiffany is a hard-working accountant with no time for love. After escaping her sister's too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she meets a local guy, Luke in the bar. When they're forced to spend time together, Tiffany lets her guard down, but she still has to return to the US in two days. Will the airport be their final goodbye?

Available at:

Amazon





Thanks so much, Beth!

Before I go, I just want to do a bit of admin. First things first. I'm seriously tired of having my time wasted on word verification, so I decided to start a bit more of an awareness campaign. So if you feel the same as me, please go sign below the open letter. If you insist on using verification, I ask very nicely for you to read it.

And then I want to ask that you spread the word as much as you can in the coming weeks. It's no help to complain about verification when you don't do anything about it. Let's see if we can at least wake a few stubborn bloggers up?

Then I want to invite guest bloggers to contact me for the last few GPFs left. There's one more in October (theme: Scares) on the 19th. Then I have all the Fridays in November (theme: Keeping Track). For for more information, please read here. It's really a great experience to get other points of view on my blog, so please let's see if we can get the last six spots filled?

Thanks for your support! Have a wonderful weekend.

Before you go, I just want to ask. Who's looking to self-publish? Do you have a marketing strategy yet or still working on it? Any self-publishing veterans with more tips for the uninitiated?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Open Letter to Bloggers with Word Verification

If you agree, please insert your name and link to your blog on the linky list below. Then I want to ask that you please refer as many bloggers to this as possible, because I really want this blight on the blogging experience to stop. Let's try to wake people up?

 
*  *  *


Dear Word Verification User,

I love blogging. Really I do. It's just wonderful to read people's inner thoughts and respond to them, potentially starting a great relationship with them.

But here's the vital word.

Respond.

There's also another vital word I am yet to mention, but it's probably even more important to me.

Time.

See I (like most of my blogging friends) have full-time jobs. Some are full-time parents. Others are artists. Some work for their own or other business etc. Jobs take time. And what's left goes to writing, spending time with those we care about and doing things important to us.

One of those things is blogging. And by that I mean posting our own blogs AND commenting on others' posts.

We do NOT have copious amounts of time in which to do this. Think about it. I'm pretty sure you don't either.

So imagine our incredible annoyance and frustration when we take time to comment on your blog. While we could zip through your writing and disappear without a trace, we think about what you wrote. We consider our own opinion to this. Then we write something meaningful that could have inspired you. It could have uplifted you. It could have given a point of view you were yet to consider. It could have introduced you to someone new and exciting.

But it doesn't.

It doesn't even get posted.

All thanks to this little tool you have activated on your blog. Word verifications, no matter what they say they do, serve absolutely no purpose if you already have a spam filter (which comes standard with most blog platforms). But they're incredibly difficult to comply to, even when one isn't sight impaired. More importantly, it's impossible to do fast.

Did you know that if you fail the word verification more times than allowed, the comment just disappears? Do you honestly think someone with a limited amount of time and many blogs to visit will take the time to rewrite the comment? What about when you own the hundredth blog on a blogfest list to disregard the organizer's request to remove verification?

If you say yes, stop reading here, because I don't think I can appeal to your reason.

Looking at this from another point. You want lots of readers, yes? Does it make sense to aggravate every new reader wanting to comment on your blog?

Word verification kills blogging. We bloggers need to respond to comments, because that's what it's about. If, however, it's too difficult to do, we'd probably move on to other social networks to get our interaction fix. If everyone does that, no one will be interested in reading the posts.

Let's prevent this from happening before it's too late. It matters to me whether blogging will survive, because while other networks give me interaction, I find it lacks a certain depth that can only be found in a blog.

Does it matter to you?

If it does, here's what you can do.

New bloggers: Most blogging platforms come with word verifications turned on by default. You will not know until you check on your settings. Please do that. And if they're on. Turn. Them. Off.

Those fearing the spam apocalypse: Please just turn the verification off for a week. Rather turn on comment approval. It's much easier for a blog reader to stomach the fact that you're going through a comment to check if it's spam. At least you'll get a chance to receive the comment. Or live on the edge. Turn both off. I did. In all this time, less than 10 comments made it through the filter.

But please. Just do something. It really ruins the experience for all of us.

Thanks in advance.

Signed,