How I Write

Even though my book is far from the NYT Bestsellers list, I still have people say to me, “I just don’t know how you did it, wrote a whole book.”

I mean, what do you say to that? “Well, I opened Word one day and started typing…”

And don’t even get me started on the fact this was during my first pregnancy and after Monkey was born. You’d think it was next to impossible.

It wasn’t, obviously. And now that I can look back at Second Death and say it’s not half bad, albeit five years later, I find myself wondering the same thing. I have a couple of ideas I’ve been excited about for some time, but how the hell did I get from there to a novel I’m not embarrassed to pitch?

(On a side note, it has been brought to my attention I can’t take compliments. I’m not asking for one. Saying I’m not embarrassed of SD is as close as I’ll ever get to saying I’m proud of it. But I digress.)

Looking back and not knowing how I got here is the thing (in my opinion,) that has taken me so long to get SD ready to go and figure out what’s going on in the sequel. It’s like going to sleep in Texas and waking up in London. Am I happy to be there? Hells yeah. But damned if I could tell you whether I flew, took a cruise, or was abducted by aliens. And how the hell am I going to get home?

So I’ve been reading some writing craft books. I never finish them. I subscribe to a number of writing blogs. I read them occasionally. All they tell me is that I probably flew, either commercially or in a spaceship to London, because if I’d sailed I’d still be somewhere in the Atlantic after one night.

My beloved editor tells me I’m a pantser, as in I write by the seat of my pants and see where the story goes. But even she says I have to outline some, just so I know where I’m going. My big issue with that is that by the time I fill in all the blanks, I don’t like it anymore, thus leaving me in the Bermuda Triangle of plot revision.

Trust me, it’s not near as cool as it sounds.

And then today happened.

After self imposed exile to my bedroom due to the overwhelming feels of pregnancy, (it’s been a rough week,) I started reading my latest writing craft book. Or I tried. At the bottom of my home screen, dear, sweet, Amazon suggested a few other craft books. And that’s where I found it. Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell.

It’s $2.99. It’s 72 pages. It was as if I walked into a psychiatrist’s  office for the first visit and the doctor outlined all my hangups, the cause of them, and then sent me on my way to fix them.

The guy knows me. Better than I know my writer-self.

As soon as I started reading it, I was like, “Holy crap! That’s exactly what I did! How did he know when even I didn’t know?”

In a nutshell, Bell tells you there’s this one moment, a “mirror moment,” where your character evaluates themselves and makes a decision in regards to what they find. Once you have that, it keeps you grounded enough to fill in all the other blanks, however you want. Pants or outline, or some hybrid outpants type thing.

And I didn’t even know I did that. But it’s there.

One of the first really solid, knockout, “yeah, this is it,” scenes I wrote in SD is the warehouse scene. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, it was brought on by a road rage incident.

No, I didn’t start it.

But I did go straight hyena mom on that stupid m-fer’s ass. (See, it still pisses me off.)

Alas, because for a rare occasion the Hubs was the one who kept his temper, I was not able to rip that dude’s eyes from his sockets and squish them to jelly between my little angry fingers.

So instead, after the shaking had worn off and I had a good cry, I wrote him into my book. Then I killed him three times, until I felt better.

If you’ve read SD, you’ll know what scene I mean. It’s the scene where my heroine decides she is fed up with being a helpless girl/victim. You mess with her people and she will end you.

And for her, finally, it’s not just talk.

This is her mirror moment.

It’s also the part that my mother didn’t like,  (“I just couldn’t believe my baby girl wrote that.”) And the part that made my husband a little afraid of me, (“Jesus. You’re kind of scary, you know that?”) Which probably explains why it’s my favorite scene too.

Because, no, I’m not always the sweet baby girl you knew, or wanted me to be. And yes, you’re damn right I’m a little bit scary. So don’t forget it. ; >

Now, while you’re shaking in your boots, might I suggest you read this little gold nugget of plot development? You and I both know you have an inner badass who’s been dying to get out. If you want to write (and actually finish) a book, maybe it’s time you let them.

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Holiday Hiatus is over!

So, the holidays are over; the constant stream of cooking, family, and presents has subsided. Now I can finally get back to some writing.

Easier said than done, right?

I’ve reexamined my sequel and I’m beginning to think it needs a major overhaul. I want to give my readers everything they loved about SD, and then some more. Where I’ve been going… it’s not enough. Great character studies, but awfully angsty. I can’t get enough action in there short of multiple bomb scares.

So here’s the long and the short of it:

Good News: the Sequel won’t suck.

Bad News: it may take a little longer to bang out than expected.

I’m sorry for the delay, but I don’t want to give you guys a quick, sub-par follow-up to something I care so much about.

In other good news, I’ve rewritten a smidge of SD per a publisher/editors request. Nothing much has changed, so no worries; instead of Claire saying “I thought” the new version reads “Claire thought.” This was suggested for continuity reasons, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea. So I rewrote the beginning and sent it back to them, to see if they might be interested in SD if it was rewritten that way. I haven’t heard back yet — the waiting game is the worst — but I don’t think I will be putting anything on paper, at least in a draft format, until I hear back. This is simply because all the work I’ve done on said sequel is in the same format as the published version of SD. I just don’t want to rewrite two books if it means holding off for another few weeks.

So that’s where we are. I would love, love, love to hear your comments about your favorite part of SD. If it’s something you can’t live without, I don’t want to leave it out!

Happy reading, happy writing!

Confessions

As I am now considered an adult with no wiggle room (I turned 30 yesterday,) I have some things I need to fess up on.

Firstly, I’m terrible about keeping a journal, diary, or making regular entries in things like this blog for instance. So please forgive the sporadic posts. In an effort to curb this, I’m going to try to talk the Hubs into writing a weekly post, in addition to my own. I think he’s hilarious, and he does have a knack for words.

Second, I’m not writing right now. If you know how to motivate yourself past staying home with a toddler, the holidays, a million video game releases of the highest caliber, and the nagging pressure from people actually wanting to read your sequel — please help!

Third, there will be no Six Sentence Sunday this week. It’s my birthday, so I’m taking off.

Okay, I think that’s all for now, plus my toddler is demanding more undivided attention.

 

Happy reading, happy writing, and Happy Holidays!

A Poll for My Readers

So I’m throwing some ideas around for how I’m going to finish this series… or at least what will happen in book three. Some of these decisions are going to be dictated by how things play on in book two. Having had strong opinions between Jacob and Edward, Bill and Eric, Ron or Harry, etc. I thought I’d give you, my beloved readers, a chance to tell me what you want.

I can’t promise I’ll please all of you, but I also can promise Claire won’t get pregnant, have a half-vampire baby, and everyone will end up a couple. Because that’s just silly.

Comment here and tell me who you want Claire to end up with. I’m not saying I’ll do it, but I’d like to know the general consensus. Your options are:

1. Ben

2. Mike

3. Another male vampire I have yet to meet

4. Another male human I haven’t met yet

(For my LGBT friends, Claire doesn’t play for your team. But I have some characters that do, never fear!)

 

*Who do ya’  luuuuuuuuv! I said who do you luv!* (I am so playing my air guitar right now.)

Wonderful Things A-happening!

What wonderful things you may ask? Firstly, my dear friend Dale Norvell has come up with some amazing new cover art for SD! Premiering in the next day or two… Secondly, I got my first review from someone I don’t know, nor someone my friends know. And they liked it. Thank you Alex O’Connell!!!!

Okay, okay,I’ll try to tone down the exclamation marks. I know I use them too much. Here is the link to read the review. Short and sweet, and it made my day. Calmly…

Happy reading, happy writing…  (I’m going to have to get rid of … next I just know it. Dang it.)

WOO HOO!

Finally, finally, I have fixed what was lacking in my sequel plans: I needed subplots. It occurred to me that the first book doesn’t need them as bad, because everything’s new, and you can accumulate stuff as you move toward your goal. In the sequels, you have to keep going towards your ultimate goal, (for example, defeating Voldemort,) while having things still happen with the same characters, (fighting with Draco, Sirius Black escaping, etc.)

Now I’m no JKR… but I do have subplots, as of this afternoon. Sequel = back on track. Can’t write longer here, have to write more there! (But please do read The Help. Amazing book I just finished.)

This is what I needed today.

So I’m working on my sequel, Second Life, and I’m having what I feel is the same problem I had with my first book. I think my hook is okay, but then when it comes to set up for the middle, it drags me down; and if it drags me down, it drags my readers down too. In SD it was when I was setting up with Mike for the big conversation with Lana. My husband and I worked on it, and I hope it didn’t seem that way when you actually read it, but still. I don’t want to have to rework all that. I want suspense, humor, excitement, or action in every page of every book I ever write. If you’re going to dream, why not dream big?

Enter Novel Publicity’s tweets. Today there was a blog article about road mapping your story and it was just what I needed. After reading this article, I’ve decided to synop (or whatever the correct tense is for making a synopsis,) summarize, and break up my outline into chapters so I can do what I really want: skip around and only work on the chapters I want to work on that day. I think it’s really going to move things along, with minimal effort on my part. After all, queries always want summaries and synopsis… synopses… synopsii? What the hell ever. Here’s the link. If you’re trying to write something, this is a great help.

Thank you Novel Publicity and Ms. Reyes!

Happy reading, happy writing!