Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My WORST Writer's Block Experience

Over a month since my last post....I'm a terrible person.  Worse than ignoring my blog--I've been ignoring my writing.  Although, technically, it wasn't something I did willingly.  First I had finals, final projects, final reports--and then I had the worst writer's block of my life--and it has persisted for the past month!!

So much wasted time!

I once heard that an author only gets writer's blcok if s/he hasn't thought enough about their story.  I used to agree with that one hundred percent and thought that was some of the best advice I'd ever been given.  I'd take a step back from my laptop, collect a notebook and pen, go sit in a rocking chair outside or find a place inside that's quiet, and then I'd brainstorm.  I would fill up several pages and race upstairs to flesh it out. 

Well, it didn't work this time.  I sat and sat and sat and wrote nothing.  I finally tried switching the story I was working on to see if that helped.  It didn't.  I tried switching genres and tried going back to an old western romance I was playing with a couple years back.  Nothing.  I couldn't write a poem--I couldn't even read a book!!  As habit, I turned on my laptop every morning, opened up my manuscript, and an unproductive half hour later, I closed the program and shut the laptop down. 

Oh I fought, believe me when I said that I fought.  But my characters' voices faded from my thoughts and I was left alone.  As a result, I have spent the last month in a daze.  A writer writes--always--and I couldn't do that.  Literally, couldn't.  In this past month, I've managed to write a shitty total of maybe 13 pages of random stuff. 

I have The Summoner's Fallen Guardian open and ready.  The fact that I was able to write this post gives me hope that the block is relenting and I can return to my story.  I'm bloody well going to keep trying!  I'm a very stubborn person.  I figure that with the start of the New Year approaching, things have to reset, and I'll soon by typing like a crazy person again. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Dangers of Changing Story Details

Anyone who follows me on Twitter is likely already aware of my little probem with The Summoner's Fallen Guardian.  I threw a tiny fit the other night because of one tiny detail that unexpectedly started a changing chain of events through the entire story. 

I started writing with a name I borrowed from one of my other WIPs.  I wanted to get some plotting and outlining done while also working on word count.  Well, almost ten thousand words later, I replaced the hero's borrowed name with Naberius. 

I can hear you all groan. 

Of course the name change changed everything.  My hero's crazed orange eyes darkened to an intense cobalt.  His entire appearance altered, his attitude, his mood--even how he talks and acts with my heroine.  My original hero, a creature of hot and cold mood swings, angry eyes, and ferocity became a rigid, and grim being.  The sparking chemisty between my heroine and hero mellowed.  Desperation flowed between them where before their goals and personalities had clashed like fireworks. 

This is the first story I've tried writing by the seat of my pants.  I'm working with a very loose outline, trying to define it more as I go, and the name change threw the story out of its orbit.  My loose outline was ruined because my hero underwent a complete personality change between introduction and conclusion.  Aside from the sex, the starting hero and the conluding hero had nothing in common--they might as well have been two different characters. 

I can't use the first name for this story because it belongs to a dark fantasy romance I've been thinking about for over a year.  The name is claimed.  And I can't possibly replace it because the character is fully defined and the story is titled with the name.  In fact, I got the idea for the story from the name.  But Naberius isn't working in The Summoner's Fallen Guardian.  I'm storing Naberius' character away for possible later use, but that still leaves me stranded and without my hero. 

Unless you're a writer you probably won't understand, but I really needed a name beginning with "E".  My original hero's originally borrowed name started with "E" and the letter just has the right feel for what I need.  There's a site I use when I'm in such circumstances and it's great for generating names for fantasy, scifi, or paranormal stories.  Check this out:  Thanks to this site, my list of possible permanent names are down to fifteen.  I'd love some help narrowing it down to one. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Writing a New Story!

I started a new story about a week ago and am very EXCITED about it!!  I've yet to do much plotting for it, sort of writing it by the seat of my pants which is not my usual style, but it seems to be working.  I instantly had a really strong heroine and hero who butt heads constantly, sparks fly between them, and the story seems to just unfold and roll out as I type!  It's a lot of fun so far.  I was daydreaming the other day and randomly got images of these two characters in my head and a scene where they were arguing and then I started writing and BAM. 

It's a paranormal romance tentatively title The Summoner's Fallen Guardian.  My heroine, Juniper, is plagued by phantom voices that overlay her own thoughts, pleading and demanding to be Summoned.  In one fateful night, Juniper summons one of the voices to physical form, the hero and very angry, fallen angel, Naberius.  (Naberius is a temporary name for the time being, I'm not sure if I love it yet). 

Risking Existence has been temporarily put on hold.  I'm still working on plotting the series (probably four books), but the first book is giving me a lot of problems.  It needs a lot of time to develop still.  I'm not going to rush, because Risking Existence promises to be an amazing story when it's finished. 

I'm always scared starting a new story.  It's hard to imagine reaching that 100,000 word count when you're only at 8,000.  It seems like an impossible goal.  I tend to overthink things and start worrying WAY too early.  I'm trying to crush that habit with this story, submerging myself in the battle between my characters, let what happens happen, and just focus on the pure fun of writing the story.  I suppose this is my--very late--NaNoWriMo story.  I had a different story about the trapped spirit of a dragon that I was writing, but it just didn't have the momentum that The Summoner's Fallen Guardian does. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Joing the NHRWA Clan

I've been a passive member of Romance Writers of America since the past June, but I've yet to really delve into the chapters that are available to members.  Chapters include both local and online writing groups.  There are two reasons why I haven't checked them out yet.

Reason the First: I don't want to spend more money.  In hand with that, being a member of a chapter--especially an online chapter--would eat up a lot of my already limited time.  The internet tends to do that, isn't that right, all you Twitter users?

Reason the Second: I'm a writer.  Well that sound like a dumb reason, doesn't it?  The chapters are there to help writers.  But writers write.  And I write constantly.  So much so that I often forget about other things like eating and homework and the flow of time actively flowing around me.  Writing also hampers my social in it conspires to keep me from having one.  But hey--who needs friends when you have voices in your head?!  

Nevertheless, I went to my first New Hampshire Romance Writers of America chapter meeting today.  There were real live people and everything.  Technically, I'm not a member of NHRWA yet, but I definitely will be soon.  It was so nice to be around other writers, sharing stories, talking shop, relating, chit-chatting.  Face to face relations is much nicer than online interaction.

RWA is a great asset to the published and unpublished author.  I definitely recommend checking out the site:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jagged Edge

I've mentioned my manuscript Jagged Edge briefly in earlier posts and now I want to talk a bit about it. 

I can't remember how I got my idea for Jagged Edge, I just remember seeing a completely random scene unfold in my mind between my protagonist, Captain Aisha Chandra, and a Vampyr she considers an enemy.  I remember how I stood up, went upstairs, and immediately started writing the story.  During the couple of minutes it took me to climb the stairs and wait for the computer to turn on, I knew the story would start with Aisha out on some sort of mission with her elite Special Forces squad and she would encounter the Vampyr during her assignment.  I sat down and wrote thirty five pages nonstop. 

Jagged Edge is a Science Fiction Romance.  It is entirely impossible for me to write anything BUT romance.  All I read is romance and all its subgenres.  My favorites are what I write: Fantasy, Paranormal, and Scince Fiction Romance.  I am, at heart, a hopeless romantic.  I love happy endings and I want everyone to find their soul mates and fall in love.  Realistically, I know this isn't how our world works, so instead I write other worlds where it DOES happen. 

Please bear with me; I'm not very good at describing my stories to others just yet.  Feel free to leave a question if you're interested or if anything is unclear. 

My protagonist, Captain Aisha Chandra, and her best friend Colonel Dante Halcyon lead an elite squad of military men in the near future.  In an attempt to repair the effects of global warming, the governments decide to release a chemical across the globe, mutating vegetation and and wildlife alike.  Aisha and her men venture out to capture these newly supernatural creatures and return them to the institution where they live.  The Vampyr taunts Aisha, interrupting her assignments, stirring her anger as he escapes capture again and again.  When she finally imprisons him, her entire world is shifted to opposite ends of reality.  She has to deal with sudden exposed secrets, deceit, and betrayal.  Aisha must figure out who she really is, what--and who--she really wants. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

The First Moment of My Future, continued

First off, I wanted to explain why I titled this post and the previous post what I did.  Why do I think that the night I pitched was the first moment of my future?  I think I mentioned somewhere before how I've wanted to be a published novelist since the 3rd grade.  For anyone who writes and has the same dream, you've known and experienced what kind of reaction you GET to that dream.  " want to be a writer....okay...."  No one's very impressed with your dream and the responses are generally neither encouraging nor supportive.  But you keep writing because you can't NOT write.

And I did.  And I do.  I have hundreds of stories started in vaiour genres and stages.  I have several main WIPs that haunt me daily, characters whispering in my mind, scenes unfolding in my thoughts, pieces snapping together in a way that thrills me.  If you're a writer, you know what I mean.  And you also probably remember the very frist of your stories you finally completed, topping that 100k word count, and wrapping the whole thing up in that happily ever after way that you always love to read.

I pitched for the very FIRST time my FIRST completed manuscript, Jagged Edge.  And that was my FIRST moment of breaking away from just writing my stories to SHARING them.  And that's our ultimate goal as a writer, isn't it?  Sharing our stories with the world?  It doesn't matter what you want to call yourself, a writer, an author, a novelist--you just want to share your stories.

So I pitched my 100 word story explanation and froze.  Boiling over 100,000 words to a 100 word DECRIPTION is HARD.  There's just so much more that needs to be said to pull someone in, so many interesting things you want them to know about your story--about why they really do want to read it.  Luckily for me, Marlene Castricato from Crescent Moon Press had questions.  I answered, we AGREED on things (which is what you hope for, but when you only have 5 minutes....I took it as a good sign, that she was interested).  I got my 2 minutes warning from the moderator and then Marlene requested my outline and the first 3 chapters.  I thanked her and signed out.


Forgive me....lost a minute to a happy flashback.

I try to stay optimistic while also being realistic....which is a lot harder than it sounds.  I understand that the majority of authors should expect to receive more than 50 rejections before--or IF they even receive an acceptance.  Sometimes the 1st manuscript is a is the 2nd one you spent several months slaving over....and the 3rd MIGHT be the charm.  So I'm remembering all this even as I'm hoping I'll get lucky--even if it's only some positive feedback.  Naturally, I would really, really, REALLY like a request for my full manuscript and a contract, but I'm also trying to prepare myself for a "Your story sucks, burn it today" response.

I believe in my story.  You're supposed to, and I do.  I believe in my characters' abilities to keep a reader engaged.  I believe in MY ability to keep up the motivation from beginning to end and hold the readers captivated.  And I believe people would be interested in reading Jagged Edge.  I suppose how I balance the good and bad is being positive one minute, negative the next, and then positive again after that.  Maybe not the best way to go, but it works for me!

So I scrabbled to find out exactly HOW to write a story outline since I'd never written a professional one before.  I wrote that up--3 pages long--and sent it off with my prologue, and the first 3 chapters of Jagged Edge.  Hopefully, in 2 months, I'll get that good response....but maybe not....but maybe....yes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The First Moment of My Future

Thanks to the Muse Online Writers Conference I had the amazing opportunity to pitch my manuscript, Jagged Edge, directly to Marlene Castricato, Marketing Director of Crescent Moon Press on the 16th in a private chat room. I had five minutes and only 100 words to persuade her to request my manuscript--and I've never done anything like this before!!

In the final five or six hours prior to my pitch at nine I was EXTREMELY anxious and nervous, pacing, fidgeting, pacing....well, pacing mainly. I get restless and need to MOVE. I went up and down the stairs and from room to room for I don't know how long. If I'd gone outside I probably would've started running and I wanted to stay close to my laptop. My family was laughing at me as I zipped by them again and again. As I did my laps around the house I was also carrying Briareos, a stuffed unicorn my best friend Kris gave me. Whatever works, true? I really miss my cats....

Anyways....I was finally dragged downstairs and sat down in front of the fire place, Briareos and blanket in tow. Everyone was going out to see "Where the Wild Things Are" and they wanted to reread the story before they left. After the story we all sat and watched an hour of "America's Funniest Home Videos" which was an excellent distraction. At a little after eight they left for their movie and I sat down at the table with my laptop, flash drive, Briareos, and a water bottle--we were all out of chocolate or I definitely would've had some with me too (LOVE chocolate). And then, over a half hour early, I logged onto the chat room where I'd soon be waiting with all the other authors scheduled to pitch. The nervousness and anxiety that had driven me all throughout the house for the past couple hours had passed in a heartbeat. I'm kind of weird that way. I get absolutely, almost over-the-top anxious, and then right before the actual event I'm so worked up about, my tension just burns out and I'm good to go.

Soooo I was actually not the first person logged in--can you believe that? A wonderful woman named Ivy was waiting all by herself and we immediately got busy with the talking. She'd been published before so I was instantly feeling kind of "uh-oh". In a matter of minutes the moderator logged on and then one by one the other six scheduled authors--everyone more than ten minutes early. And after some technical difficulties and ten minutes later than when we were supposed to begin, the first person was called and we were wishing her the very best of luck! I was scheduled to pitch last, but my nerves never made a reappearance. Like I said, kind of weird.

While we waited our turns we all encouraged one another, talked briefly about our stories, got some last minute pitching tips and advice from the chat room moderator, and then began goofing off, more of less knighting this woman. Our moderator, a MARVELOUS woman named Lea, made the Muse Online Writers Conferense possible for us. After each author pitched, she returned to our group lounge to share her experience with the rest of us.

And then my name was announced. With encouragements and well-wishes directed my way, I calmly switched from Chat Lounge 3 to Chat Lounge 1 where Marlene, Lea, and one other waited for me.

My first moment had arrived.

To be continued....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Difficulties with my fantasy romance WIP

At the end of the summer I completed my very first manuscript (YAY!!!): a science fiction with strong romantic elements temporarily titled Jagged Edge. I know that many writers have trouble transitioning from their finished manuscript to their next WIP. By the time I finished Jagged Edge I felt ENTIRELY ready to move on. There were three other stories in my mind all demanding attention. One, a fantasy romance titled Risking Existence, was never fully mollified while I wrote Jagged Edge, and it was foremost on my mind when I had finally finished. Unfortunately, I started classes again immediately after the completion of Jagged Edge and I had to once again squash down my characters and their stories. Regrettably, this time it worked too well and I've had a difficult time stirring my muse again since (I think I've hurt her feelings). Risking Existence remains mainly unchanged.

During lull point in my classes, I kept busy working on plot, character building, goals, and motivation. I read somewhere that if a writer has writer's block, s/he hasn't thought enough about their story. I wish I could remember where I read that piece of advice because I feel that it is some of the best advice on writing I've ever received. I find it extremely helpful to take a notebook and pen and go sit outside somewhere. At times, the pressure of the laptop can be too much, making me feel like I need to perform and produce NOW. With only the wind, green trees, cloudy skies, lines, and lead I can allow myself time to think on my story and coax whatever is struggling inside of me out.

So while distracting myself in math class I realized something of monumental importance about my WIP, Risking Existence:

I don't like my heroine.

Powers That Be, beat me. When I realized this I must have had the dumbest expression on my face. Everything just stopped while I turned over this thought several more times. I forgot I was sitting in math class, I forgot math even existed--all I could think was I don't like my heroine.

Oops. Well I finally realized why I couldn't write my story. I love my antihero, I love all of my heroine's companions, but her--I didn't even like. When I read a story, I like a strong female main character: stubborn, determined, sarcastic, witty, motivated, etc. My Risking Existence heroine was none of those things. Marion was timid, compliant, quiet, submissive, and I didn't like her at all. She was way too weak for my half-demon anithero Rohgen. Hell--I didn't even like her name. So during the rest of my math class I recreated her. Her physical appearance changed, she gained goals and motivation, she grew a backbone (although she isn't going to use it at the beginning out of a sense of obligation), she can even think for herself!! I still need to learn a little bit more about her--and find her a new name--but once I do, I know Risking Existence will burst from me like a burning weave of magick.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Juggling Challenges

Wow, I can't believe how busy I've been! All of my days just woosh right past. With new classes, LOTS of college homework, writing, editing, and rewriting WIPs, RWA e-mails, and trying to promote myself as an author--I have no spare time.

I became a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) a few months ago. New York Times Bestselling Author C. L. Wilson, a fabulous storyteller of fantasy romance and one of my most favorite authors, mentioned RWA on her website as a great tool for aspiring authors. I took her advice, joined a few days later, and have been extremely glad that I did.

In RWA's monthly member's catalog I read a recommendation of getting your name out there before you even have a book contract. They suggest building your own website, making a Twitter profile, and creating a blog. So far I've done two of the three--I'm putting off building my website until I have some stuff to put on it! But Twitter is such a time consumer! It's a great networking tool--don't get me wrong--it just eats up the minutes....hours without you even being aware of it. On Twitter I'm following other authors (published and unpublished), literary agents, marketers, publishers, animal lovers, wiccans--and getting tips and links to suggested sites from all of them! (You can see now how it becomes time consuming)

Thanks to Twitter and RWA members I've joined two online writing workshops to make up for not taking any writing classes at the local tech. I'm very excited to begin them in the coming weeks. I can't imagine how I'm going to juggle everything though. I just need to add it into my schedule I suppose. Priorities.

And lastly--the characters in my fantasy romance MS, Risking Existence, have forgiven me. Also meaning....I'm working on it again. There is one problem however. Today I realized that I need to rewrite the entire beginning....

Ah, well. I like a challenge :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Life Happens

I started my second year of college this week and have been busy getting everything sorted out. I haven't done any writing and for the past couple days and feel very disappointed in myself. I usually make it part of my every day routine to write for an hour minimum in order to ensure some sort of progress every day. On top of becoming a full time student again, I've had some....difficulties. Over three hundred dollars worth of unanticipated difficulties in this first week. Two involved my math class, the third my laptop. But--life happens. I payed the money, hopefully fixed my problems, and will have my home work complete and checked for classes next week.

I'm taking transferable classes at the local tech. I'm unable to take a single course on writing until my third year when I transfer and switch to a Creative Writing major. Well, not unable, but am choosing not to because the teachers of those classes are very narrow minded and fixed on their own styles. The reason I chose to go to college was to take classes to improve my writing. My whole life I've wanted to be a published novelist, but my goal isn't just to be published--I want my published story to be well written. I want readers to pick up my novels not only because of plausible characters, sentence structure, plot, vocabulary, conflict, etc.--but because my story flows and captivates.

Before I returned to classes, I finished my first manuscript. It's in the process of being edited by my old high school English teacher who is an extremely under appreciated man and who helped me develop my writing to where I am today. I'm taking a breather from my first finished manuscript to work on my second, or that was the plan anyways. I spent so much time writing the first MS that I'm getting tired of it. While my high school teacher Morris edits my Science Fiction Romance (1st finished MS), I'm not going to think about it. I spent three months completely obsorbed in that world, over a dozen characters all talking in my head, and if I spent any longer with it right now I wouldn't want anything more to do with it. Good news--other authors have the same problem. That made me feel better. We all need breaks. Now I'm relaxing, letting myself ponder and daydream until my energy stabilizes and the characters from my Fantasy Romance (2nd MS) start talking to me again about what happens next during their journey. I am a terrible multi-tasker and so I neglected them while I worked on the 1st MS. Fortunately, only one of them really knows how to hold a grudge.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hello to whosoever reads this. I'm a writer. I've had one poem published and am currently in college for Creative Writing. I write mainly Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, and Science Fiction Romance. This is my first post on my brand new log and I'm not quite sure what to write--imagine that! Perhaps I'll tell you a story.
Once upon a time a young girl sat on a sawhorse beneath the stars with her father. The father told the girl a story about a ghost. That girl spent the next few days recalling the story, adding characters, conflicts, developing the story until it was entirely different from the original, simple, five minute story she'd been told. As the years passed and the girl grew to an adult, she continued to make up stories, picking up ideas from everything around her.
In case not everyone is up to speed....the girl in the story is me! Surprise!! When people ask me what started me on writing the farthest back reason I can remember is my dad telling me the occasional story. We used to go for long car rides at night and he would make up strange, short little stories for me. However, he could never keep up with a child's demand for "more!" and "what happened next?!" I could never quite accept that "the end" meant exactly that. Surely something else happened to the ghost-claimed rocking chair!!
So now....I don't even know how many years later because I have no idea what age I was in that memory....I'm still creating stories. I am working on revising my first completed manuscript before sending it out to agents. I'm very excited!!!! I have three other manuscripts in the works, but currently on the back burner while I work on polishing the first finished. Anyone who knows me knows that I am always in my head--juggling four stories' worth of characters and conflicts is why! It's actually quite amusing....picture this: me, standing in the kitchen, eating a cookie or an apple or something and spacing out as usual, completely engrossed in my head and the story I'm working on in the other room before my break when suddenly someone walks around the corner. My usual reaction is to shriek and jump back into or onto a counter top as I'm jolted out of the world where my characters live and back into boring real life! This once happened to me--no lie--three times in one morning. I finally gave up and returned to my laptop and the story so impatiently awaiting me. Needless to say I keep my family very entertained!
Thank you for visiting and I'll post again soon!