Sunday, July 22, 2012

4th Sunday Suprise: My 1st Writing Book

Labyrinth Trail, Washington
I've always avoided writing manuals or books. Yeah, I've taken numerous workshops both at conferences and online for writing, but my philosophy is that if I'm not putting into practice what I learn at said workshops, what's the point? Most books I find to formulaic for my taste. Yes there is a formula to writing but it is also a creative process. So I take a class and then I write like hell applying those concepts. With each novel I've written my work gets better and better, but with the current WIP I've hit a plateau.

I know how to write. I know how to plot, even though I'm a panster. I know how to write hooks and where they should go on the page. I know where to place the inciting incident, the point of no return, and the black moment in my stories. All of my novels have all of these elements. Yet here I'm writing my 7th book and I'm not published and as I reached the dark moment in my story, I realized the whole thing is crap like the last six books sitting in the proverbial drawer.

I talked to my crit partner about my dilemma, she pointed out my story isn't focused and there is too much going on but nothing really happening--which is the same feedback I got last year from the editors and agents who rejected my vampire novel. Funny thing is I knew this, but how do I fix the problem? None of the classes I've taken or articles I've read online have helped me in this. They always say "what is your protagonist's goal?" or "what's her motivation?"

Yeah I get that, but how the HELL do you write that? And really what does that actually mean? So last week on Monday (a week till RWA, where I'm hoping to pitch this project to an editor & agent) I came to a halt. I didn't want to add any more words, because it was flat fried crap with ketchup gone south. Why would I want to waste any more time? 

That afternoon I got an email notification on my phone that my dear husband had gifted me a Kindle book. (This is the first time he's bought me a book in the 8 years I've been with him & that's saying something given the fact most of the wall of our condo are dedicated to bookshelves.) When I accepted the gift I realized that it's a book on writing. Great, I thought, that's what I need. But when I got home he said it really isn't about writing but more about story telling

Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron is the first book on writing I have ever picked up and actually read. At this point in the game I was ready to throw in the towel and give up my dream of becoming a published author. I really had nothing to loose. That night I read the first chapter. Everything she said resonated with me like the perfect song coming on in the car as I'm driving into the sunset. Yeah that is how powerful this book is. 

Maybe it's the science geek in me that started dancing, but when she started talking about how our brains react to story-telling I rejoiced. FINALLY someone who speaks my language. I went back to my first chapter and applied everything I had learned. BAM! my opening when from fluffy puffy flat cotton candy to in your face, who is this girl, and what is going to happen to her. Even my crit partner said it was much better. I've read four chapters in Wired for Story and just the few concepts I've learned so far are transforming my novel from the rubbish to something someone might actually want to buy and read.

The coolest part about all of this: I'm revising for the first time. In the past, every time I go to revise I don't make it past the first two or three chapters before I scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. I'm on chapter 11 now and am actually really enjoying the process. I feel I have achieved a new level in my journey towards publication. Yay!

I won't be blogging next week since I'll be at RWA, but I can safely say expect some cool posts next month including a blog anniversary giveaway. :) Thanks so much for stopping by. *back to writing*

Sunday, July 15, 2012

3rd Sunday Sweet: The Dark Divine

I'm going to keep this post short because I actually have a ton of writing to do today. However, I did want to share with you my review of Bree Despain's The Dark Divine.
I first heard of Bree during one of Farland's Author Advisory call's where Robin Weeks interviewed "the Six." Click here to listen to that interview.
I started following her and Brodi Ashton on Twitter. In March of this year Bree tweeted that her first two books: The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint were on sale for .99 on Kindle. Me, being the bargain fiend that I am, jumped right on it. I was a little skeptical whether I would like the story or not because it's about a pastor's daughter and family. Yawn. I thought, but hey .99 isn't a great loss and I have a pretty open mind even though religion in fiction tends to irritate me (for reasons I won't go into, this is a blog about writing and fiction, not about personal religious preferences). But take a look at that cover. SEXY! Wouldn't you want to read that? Or at least want to buy that color of nail polish?
So I started reading the first book, Dark Divine, and the more read the more I was drawn into the story. Not only were the characters compelling multidimensional people I wanted to know more about, but I also was intrigued by the mythos Bree created. Her fresh take on the classic werewolf was a nice change. The plot was evenly paced and kept me wanting to read more.
Grace Divine's journey is beautifully portrayed as is Daniel's, the boy next door. The story is wonderfully written and to my surprise I really enjoyed it and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. (FIRST, I need to finish my book, 'cause RWA is in less than two weeks. SQUEAL). From a writer's perspective, I think this book is a perfect example of a well crafted YA novel with the right amount of romance, suspense, and adventure sprinkled throughout.
Check it out for yourself by clicking here. And if you are not following Bree on Twitter, you should do that too. :)
Thanks again for stopping by. *closes internet, puts headphones on, cranks Enigma, and types away*

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fictioneers: Omen

I'm back! Sorry for missing out last week on the fun, but I did make progress on my WIP. 15K lef to go. Yippee!

This week's fiction was inspired by Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Thank you Madison Woods for providing this opportunity and flash fiction photo prompt. Her story is available here.

Stark grey morning light cast an unsettling feeling over the bare branches of the forest. Vibrant foliage should have covered them by now, but not so much as a bud could be seen. Where carpets of luscious grass should be thriving brown remains of last summer’s growth decayed. Goddess, Summer Solstice was nearly upon us, but renewal of life seemed to have abandoned Brumblethorn. That is until a black crow landed at the top of a nearby tree.  I tucked the thread-bare cloak around my shoulders in attempt to stave off the lingering remnants of winter and the bleak omen.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2nd Sunday Savors: Star Wars

Yeah, I wasn't going to blog, because I have so much writing to do, but I reached that point where I was sick of vomiting on the page and needed a distraction. So thank you for being said distraction, dear blog readers. MUAH! You have just saved my mental sanity.

I spent the last 44 hours in a hotel room trying to get some progress on my WIP. At night I got tired so I turned the TV on, something I rarely do, because I DESPISE TV (especially commercials). Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back happened to be on and as the good fangirl that I am I watched and did a little editing during commercial breaks.

It's been years since I've seen the original films. I couldn't believe how cheesy they are. The acting is horrible and the special effects left much to be desired. But by golly, I remember the first time I watched these movies as a kid and being in utter awe for weeks afterward. Man, I had the biggest crush on Luke Skywalker like nothing else. And of course I, like every other female during that time, wanted to be Princess Leia.

But now watching them I realized Luke is really not that cute, compared to Han Solo. And Leia, meh, she's alright. Although she really rocked the bikini in Return of the Jedi. Speaking of Han Solo, out of all the characters, I think Harrison Ford had the best acting skills of the cast. Funny, cause he's the one guy that went on and established himself in Hollywood.

Despite all the cheese and dismal acting, I still love those movies and will watch them every time they come on TV, that is if I bother to even turn the damn thing on.

Friday, July 6, 2012

No Friday Fictioneers Today

Sorry guys, I'm headed to a hotel to write and try to get most of my novel done this weekend. Will not be posting anything on Sunday either. Got to getter done! Depending on how much I get done this weekend I may or may be back next Friday, but I'm hoping. Thanks for understanding!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

1st Sunday Snippets: Almost

Last weekend I was on vacation in Victoria, BC. Love that city. Someday I'm going to have to write a story based in the city so I can have a "writing retreat" or "research trip" and then be able to write it off on my taxes. :P During our vacation we visited Victoria Butterfly Gardens. What a magical place. Complete with love ducks, which I thought was appropriate since we were celebrating our 7 year anniversary.

So I'm going to keep this short. I'm kinda under a bit of a writing crunch. I have 30K words left to write on my YA fantasy that I want to pitch at RWA nationals, which is in three weeks. *insert freakout here* Of course I've majorly procrastinated the last month, but I do work well under pressure.

Without farther ado, here's a snippet from my WIP. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by. *waves & dives back into writing cave*


“I did not trust you. I still am unsure if I do now.”

“Trust is earned,” I say, resting hands rest on his smooth tight chest. The warmth of his skin seeps into my palms. “And that takes time.”


His gaze drifts down to my lips and I suck in my breath. The hunger in his eyes is unmistakable. He wants me. The skin of my face prickles in anticipation as his lowers head ever so slowly. I close my eyes awaiting the inevitable.

“Well, what have me here?”

I finch at booming voice behind me followed by a trio ultra high pitched whistles. The corners of my mouth brush that of the Prince’s, a groan of frustration escaping his lips.