Monthly Archives: June 2007

Karen Kelley’s Double Dating With the Dead

Great book trailer for a great book. WOO HOO, Karen.

The problem with summer…

I’ve always written better late at night. Now that I have my Bose noise reduction headphones, I can plug them in to my iPod and get lost in my story for hours without any idea of time.
Unfortunately that means I look up and suddenly it’s 3:00 in the morning. And boom, just like that, all my mental power shuts off. I can no more check to make sure my words make sense than I can jump out of my chair and execute a perfect back handspring. (If that did happen, We’d be talking miracle of major proportions. Water into wine kind of thing.)
THEN to make matters worse, I’m awake at 7:00 in the morning.
So my brain still can’t focus.
Ugh.

On the bright side Regis and Kelly is REALLY good this morning. Kelly’s dh in the host stand-in for Regis. They’re so fun to watch.

Shelley Bradley presents Storyboarding for the Story Challenged!

Register online @ redriverromancewriters.com

Online Classes

Shelley Bradley presents Storyboarding for the Story Challenged

Cost $15, August 6-10

The author of over 15 sizzling contemporary, paranormal and historical romances, Shelley Bradley, who also writes as Shayla Black, has won or placed in over a dozen writing contests, including Romance Writer of America’s Golden Heart, Colorado Romance Writers Awards of Excellence, The Passionate Plume, and National Readers’ Choice Awards. With previous releases, Romantic Times has awarded her a Top Pick and a KISS Hero award.

A writing risk-taker, Shelley enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book, as well as writing emotionally-based relationships and hot love scenes from the heart.

Description:

Hate blinking cursors or rewriting? Have a very time-pressed schedule? To avoid all of those and maintain sanity in the middle of deadlines and challenging books requires a little more pre-plotting than Ready with some characters, Set with an opening scene, Go!

Storyboarding for the Story Challenged uses different formats (and thus, different parts of your brain) to help you construct your plot. Part visual, part analytical, this method of storyboarding allows you to plot the skeleton of a story or put all the story flesh on its bones, right down to the last freckle or drop of sweat.

The storyboarding method also allows you to:
a) write a quick, concise sysnopsis that enables you to more accurately state what your book will be about when it’s finished
b) find plot holes
c) determine if you’ve dropped threads, characters, props or themes
d) know your characters, the story and how motivation ties in before you ever start writing
e) and lots more!!

New Pages

Listening to the Persistence RWA session from last year’s National, I heard something I’ve never heard before. One of the speakers talked about Catherine Coulter’s philosophy on writing. She said only new pages count toward daily writing progress. Yes, revisions are important, and editing and marketing and all the other stuff that goes into being a writer, but in production, only new pages count.
When I brought that up with other writers, they agreed.
I’ve been writing for almost a decade and this was the first time I’d heard that bit of advice. Sometimes I think I need the modified version of how to write. 🙂

Tonight DH and I were minding our own business sitting at a red light when a lady ran into the back of my car. GRRRRR. Now, two hours later my neck hurts. Grrrrrr. I’m going to try some pilates and hopefully I’ll be fine in the morning.

Only new pages count. MAN, I’ve gone a long time without real writing if that’s the case!!!

Plot Holes

Lately several books I’ve read move me forward with plot but leave me questioning character motivation. I wonder why they’d do XYZ or worse shaking my head and saying the character would never do XYZ.  It’s been good for my revisions because I find myself making sure I haven’t done the same thing with my stories. Some writers are so awesome, I can forgive one or two “no way!” moments. Especially if it’s an author I know will deliver.  A new author has one chance to grab me. If I’m questioning motivation throughout the book, I put the book aside. I’m sure editors are the same way.  Only more so because their jobs are on the line. ACK!

Granddaddy

In 2002 the gas company dug a hole outside my husband’s grandfather’s business and accidentally punctured the gasline.
They knocked, but no one was there yet, so they went about business as usual.
When Granddaddy got to work that day with his wife,  Lou, he bent down to light the space heater and the whole building exploded around him.
Lou died.
Granddaddy didn’t. But the burns scarred horribly. It took over a year for him to heal. His entire face and head were burned along with his hands. He’d put out the fire on Lou.
He was 84. She was 86.
In the negligence trial, the lawyers said that although it was sad Lou died such a horrific death (she lived three days) and Granddaddy had to go through the extreme pain of burn therapy, it wasn’t really so bad. They were already old and were probably going to die soon anyway.
Until the explosion, Granddaddy was one of the most active senior citizens I knew. He went to work every day, he went fishing, he had great friends at the senior citizen center.
After, I got to see bravery like I’ve never seen in my life. He never regained that same active lifestyle, but he also refused to give in to the pain.
Friday evening he passed away.
He lived a good life and he taught his grand children some great life lessons.
He will be missed.

Pan’s Labyrinth

I really had no idea what Pan’s Labyrinth was about when I put it on my Netflix Que. I’d just heard all the great reviews.
I think it just might be my favorite movie of all time. It’s gruesome but amazing. A fairy tale and horror story wrapped into one alongside a story of amazing courage and unbelievable outrage. It’s set in Spain in 1944 and WW2 plays a huge role.  I highly recommend it, but be sure you have a box of Kleenex handy. You’ll need it.

Voice

I keep telling myself the revisions I’m working on are the real writing. That fixing a blank page is impossible and this is part of the process.
I know that.
I just never really looked at how far from READY my stories were.
The biggest problem I’m running into now is lack of character voice. My voice is there loud and clear, but my hero and heroine sound the same pretty often. Their sentences have the same cadence. The words might be different, but the “feel” is the same.
Now I’ve got to figure out how to FIX this.
Not an easy thing to do in big chunks.
In fact, the longer I worked, the less I was able to really see the problem.
UGH.
And yet, for all the frustration, I’m excited.
I actually started revisions on a different book a couple months ago, and I love the first three chapters. But after that the plot needs a TON of work. So I put it aside.
Missing needs some work with character conflict and development, but the plot is good. For me, that’s an easier fix. Not easy by any means, but easier.

Writing Dreams

Somewhere in my mom’s house, probably at the bottom of a pile topped with scratched Supreme’s and Elvis records, my very first books still sit. I wrote them with Eraser Mate pens in tattered blue college ruled spirals. I’d fill up one notebook, pass it around, and by the time my friends were done reading, I had the next chapters written. My friends were huge fans of my first romances even though the editing stunk. 🙂
I didn’t know a thing about characterization or turning points or plot. I just knew what we dreamed romance was and I wrote it.
Last night as I worked on revisions, I wished for those days.
I need to reclaim that desire to write for the sake of writing, for the story, for the fun.
I’m not sure where that story for the sake of story went. I understand when my pubbed friends lose that element in their writing. Contracts, deadlines, $, all change the game.
But I don’t have any of those issues facing me when I open my Word document. I WANT those issues, but they’re not a part of my life right now. I think sometimes that I let the desire for publication overwhelm my desire for writing an amazing story. And that desire for publication is actually standing in my way—crazy since everything I’ve done for the last several years has been focused on becoming a published author, but I still think it’s true.
So today I’m going to try something new. No more worries about publication. I’m focusing on the fun, the creation, the story.
It won’t be easy, but it’s absolutely necessary, at least it is for me.

If you’re a teacher…

or ever have been or know one
Check this out!

(Warning, language, language, language)