Monday, November 30, 2009

National Novel Writing Month Epic Fail

So I failed miserably at the whole novel writing in a month in November thing. But I'm honestly okay with it. I plan on finishing my next novel by the end of the year, which is nearly as ambitious, but I'm in a much better place to actually reach that goal, because I resolved my issues with my first novel. So I'm happy. I feel like I did what was most important to me. Next year I will climb that mountain and reach the top.

Writing wise it's been an interesting month. I haven't posted a lot because I've been swaying back and forth on things. Like do I change my novel this way? Do I add that whole chapter? Do I think that this will fix that problem? Do I think it is a problem? And finally am I over thinking it?

My mother-in-law asked me how my novel was coming this weekend. She hasn't read it yet, because I'm afraid she'll think it is totally silly, but I'm the one being silly. When I said I was still tweaking things, she said don't over think it. Well that's been my problem. I'm fixing the last few things, and sending it out this week. I'm done thinking about it. I also really feel that I've taken it as far as I currently can.

December is going to be crazy with holidays and birthdays, but I love it. I also know that I will need to make time and a schedule so that I can sit down and really write. But usually when things are totally hectic I can accomplish a lot more. I hope that you all have a great writing week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Five

1. Today is gorgeous. There is a very slight chill, but I'm sure it will be gone by the afternoon. It's the kind of day I just want to open my windows and let all the glorious fall air stream in. Days like this I am exceedingly happy. I love beautiful weather and I tend to equate November with gray drizzly days and believe me we've had plenty of those this month. Plenty!

2. My kids have decided that their must have Christmas item is the Zhu Zhu pet hamsters. But my husband and I have decided we are not paying more than regular retail for them. And of course they are no where, no where to be found. Maybe it will blow over by Christmas (our kids' desire--we've no hope that the craze for them will). That is our hope, plus we'll keep searching. We may end up lucky.

3. National Novel Writing month, I must confess, has fallen to the wayside for me. But that's because after a break I was just ready to work on Isis again. And so I am. My other novel will still be written, and hopefully before Christmas. Right now I have a row of books lined up just waiting to be written. All in different genres (but all young adult). Roller coasters, bombs, self discovery. Another common thread of course is romance. Not that romance is front and center, but it is a definite thread. Hey if it is a must in most of the books I love to read, it's going to be big in the books that I write.

4. I'm super excited to begin querying. I don't care if it is December when I start. I am going to start. It's time. And I'm ready to thrust my novel out on the world. I've got to at least try. I've been standing here afraid to try, but I am afraid no longer. Not at all. Good luck to all the fellow queriers out there!

5. So I turned down two different invites to the midnight showing of the New Moon movie. I even ignored the urging of my husband to go. The biggest reason is lately I've really needed my sleep. I'm talking falling asleep at 10:00 or 11:00. And I usually stay up past midnight. Last night I was asleep before 10:30. (Whenever my husband turns on Ghosthunters I sack out. I don't know why, I like the show, but it just seems to happen.) So I'm glad that I skipped it. Never fear I will see it. Just not this weekend, maybe I'll go over the Thanksgiving break. Hope that you all enjoyed the moving. (Some of those werewolves were so swoon worthy!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Five

1. First of all my writer's group was last night. I enjoy my group because it is very encouraging to just keep at it. We did an exercise where we wrote something to be read out loud, we were supposed to focus on the sounds of words and all of those marvelous tools. I could tell that my fellow writers were surprised by my piece. It was different from how I'm writing my novel. They liked it. It sounded pretty. I think I'm going to paste it below. But it is vastly different from the style of novel that I write. I think I'm overly afraid of purple prose, and so I tend to shy away from this type of writing in my novels. Anyway it was nice to show that I can do it if I want to. I described a scene that my two boys and I watched one afternoon.

Here it is:

It began as a soft murmur, a rustle of feathers and leaves. Slowly they came landing lightly on branches blending in, becoming invisible to the eye. But the rustling grew louder, causing those in the park to look up at the trees, searching for a sound they had never heard before. The rustle of feathers and dried leaves were occasionally punctuated by the caw of a bird. Watching you could see ten birds land on one tree five more on another. Still the sound grew louder.

Birds are generally quiet. Slipping unnoticed from tree to tree, the sound of flight is not heard. The movement of wings negligible in comparison to all other noises. Yet today the sound was present overriding all other sounds.

A bark echoed across the grounds sharp in its loudness. With a clatter of caws the birds rose en masse. The sky darkened as the trees unveiled their fugitives. The birds taking to the sky in a choreographed movement swooping one direction and then turning in an almost about face. The birds acting as one beat upward. The sound of their wings heard in a steady pulse whoosh, whoosh, whoosh pushing the air enough that you could almost feel the breeze of their yearly exodus.

2. I'm taking a big chunk of this weekend to write. It won't all be on my novel, but a good portion of it will be. I've got to make a little money this month. It's important to eat and pay the bills, right?

3. Homework is not a happy thing at my house. My morning involved driving my daughter to school instead of having the bus take her so she could squeeze in the extra assignment. This was after arguing with her about her homework all yesterday evening, and this morning early so she could get it done. She is only in second grade, and the power struggle has got to stop. Any suggestions you have would be so immensely appreciated.

4. We were having a discussion about names with writer's group yesterday, and how certain names fit together. In my first novel Isis and Dane are my main character's names. And I know a family who had a son named Dane, and yesterday I found out that they named their new baby daughter Iris. So close to my main characters. My jaw kind of dropped. Names are such fun things. I've enjoyed naming my characters a lot more than I did my children. I worried so much about picking the perfect name with meaning and significance with my kids, 'cause it follows them around for the rest of their life. I do the whole meaning thing with the names with characters too, but the pressure just isn't there.

5. Well that is all I can think of. I've got to run get my daughter from the bus stop I think it finally stopped raining, but it is so soggy after two days of straight cold rain. I am so sleepy on rainy days, I can't wait for the sun to come back out. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Five: Running Late

1. A week of not thinking about my first novel and then a discussion with my mother helped me get that novel back into perspective. I still need to make a few tweaks, but I'm much happier with what I've decided to keep and what I've decided to change. I really think I can go through this draft and it will be my final plus then the proof reading. So I'm excited.

2. Lisa and Laura are giving away a Kindle on their blog. It is in celebration of their new book deal. The book sounds like a great read, and the contest sounds great. At the very least you should go check it out.

3. Rob just got a game for his PS3- Demon Slayer, which requires about 80 hours of game time. And while many people I know would be worried about that much game time, I'm thinking it is time I can spend writing without feeling guilty. He plays and I sit next to him in the dark and write. It's bonding kind of. I'm glad he has his outlet, and I'm not a video game widow. He doesn't ignore the family to play. He just plays late at night, when the kids are asleep, and when I either read or write. It works for us. (Funny story--We had been married for just over a year when the PS2 came out and he was super excited, and wanted to get one, and kept debating whether he should go and camp out. We both went to bed about 11:00 and I woke up at 3:00 in the morning in an empty apartment. No note or anything. Talk about panic. He's lucky he had his cell phone on him. I called and he had woken up at 1:00 and decided to see if he could get one. He had driven around to several stores and realized that he would definitely get one at Circuit City so he stayed. That's when I knew that I was married to a gamer, and I've stood in line for him to get other stuff.)

4. We are planning a last hurrah for the kidlets this weekend before winter sets in. It was supposed to be a trip to the beach (day trip) but the sillies wouldn't go to bed when threatened, so it may just be the zoo instead. It means no writing for me, but it should be in the 60s tomorrow and then it is supposed to be cold. I like the beach when it is cool out. I'm not much of a water person.

5. Reading makes me happy. It has for a very long, long time. Writing makes me happy too.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Well I am participating in NaNo right now. So I've only done about 400 words. And I totally need to get caught up. It is very thrilling and exciting to just be focusing on writing and not at all on the revising process. Although I may not take the whole month off of my novel. Just knowing I don't have to think about it right now has taken the weight off and reenergized me already.

The reason I only have 400 words is that the night I had time to sit down and write I fell asleep while typing. I was in one of those lucid dreams where I kept picturing the scene and I was describing it. Then I actually dozed off and my husband said something to me and I woke up and put the laptop away.

When I opened it up the next morning I was quite upset to realize that my hands had gotten off the keys and it was truly gibberish. So sad.

My NaNo name is MLC23 if you want to friend me, but there is no pressure. I don't plan on being very active except to post my updates. Hopefully tonight I will get a lot of writing done and be able to catch up by Saturday.

I love coming up with the story. This one promises to be exciting. It is post-apocalpytic and lots of explosions, bad guys, tension (both suspense and sexual). Basically it should have everything that I should want in a novel. Hopefully I can pull it off with some killer tension.

Lately I've been reading but not posting my books. I have noticed a few things. One I tried a new genre and read The Season by Sarah MacLean. I very much enjoyed this particular book. Very well written.

I have also read a few other books in the last week. One came highly recommended by someone and I am just having the hardest time with it. It is all telling and no showing and so round about it as it wanders from event to event. It came out in 1990 and I just don't know if it would fly now. The story is fun, but it so doesn't speak to me. (I don't like to criticize other authors on the blog so the book will remain absolutely nameless.)

And I read another one by a very experienced author who wrote in limited third the entire book except for two paragraphs that she pulls out of it in the middle of the book. It was so jarring. I wondered how the editor let that one slide. Once you have so many books published do they just stop checking?

Another book I read spent so much time on backstory that it took nearly 100 pages to get into the action. This was a middle grade book (which may be part of the reason why it didn't work well for me, since I really struggle reading middle grade). It was recently published. It came very highly recommended and I read the entire thing, even though I hadn't liked another book by the same author. But I didn't think the payoff was worth it on that book. The sense of adventure didn't get high enough and even though we got to know the character in the end his journey didn't matter to me at all.

So I may sound nitpicky, really I'm not. I've read a lot of great books like The Season and others, but I've been thinking a lot about story telling devices and narration and voice lately and so those things have stood out to me. I think I've decided I don't care for omniscient story telling. I like limited third or first person. If you want to switch narration between characters make sure that the voice is strong enough to really see a noticeable difference. I don't like backstory in the beginning. I don't need to know the characters past, childhood and Aunt Zelma. Give it to me as I need to know in the action of the story. I like fast moving plot and I love romantic tension. Really if that's not there the book isn't going to work for me. So I want to know what you all think about those things.

I was going to do a nifty poll, but I feel like I should get writing instead of figuring out how to do a poll. (lame I know)

So if you'd care to answer I'd love to hear your response to these four questions.

What type of narrator do you prefer or does it even matter to you?

How do you like backstory to be handled?

Do you want a good page turner or a book that wanders around?

Is romantic tension a must, a bonus or a downer?