Friday, August 27, 2010

Changing My Tune

It's done, it's done, it's done. But of course, I'm not sure the ending is that great. First endings are never the best, usually takes me 3 or 4 tries to get the ending right. Beginnings for me are golden, middles not so back, endings....hell, brimstone and fire hell. I hem and haw over it for hours. But eventually my crit partners make me find the right one. :) *waves at crit partners* (They really rock!)

So to keep up the insanity, I'm putting Fallen on the backburner and taking up Alex's story. I have the first 3 chapters done, so during Nora time today I'll be going through my critique notes for those chapters and polishing them up. Why? So I can send them to my agent who can have them ready if my editor buys Casanova. Meanwhile, I'll keep plugging away at Alex's story.

For every story of mine, there is a soundtrack that I listen to to get into the mood. Fallen is very dark. A lot of metal and heavy music from bands like Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Smashing Pumpkins. The darkness and perpetual rhythm underlying Tool songs really perfected the mood of Fallen for this revision.

But now it's time for some lighter fare. Alex and Paige are a love story with just as much emotional depth as Fallen. Both have internal conflicts they must get over before they can be together and there are going to be scenes that feel just as dark as Fallen, but with a different edge. Songs in the playlist include Time after Time by Cyndi Lauper, I Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Rait, and Make You Feel My Love by Adele. I have an emotional response to all my songs in my playlists and some of them bring out different emotions that I've felt in the past. Sometimes I just need a light tune to come up every now and then to remind me that my Silhouettes aren't all hardcore emotion rollercoasters. To that end, I usually put recently downloaded songs like Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner and Your Love is My Drug by Ke$ha.

These songs help me find the tone and voice of my story because they mean something to me. They make me feel a certain way and that frees me to write the story of my heart.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Holy Wordcount, Batman - Thanks Goodness for Plotting

Yes, I use that joke a lot and no, I'm not tired of it yet. So today I'm going to talk about the importance of planning. :) I'm a plotter. I've always been a plotter, even if a pants a little in between. When I first started out writing, I tried every way of plotting. I storyboarded, I used notecards, I tried an outline, I studied everyone who had something to say on plotting. The point is I tried that stuff. However none of it really worked for me. I never got past 75,000 words no matter how much plot I tried to do or how many cards I tried to write.

Granted, I'm a fuller writer now. I don't write the bare minimum on first drafts. Each scene is complete with description, action, dialogue, senses, internal thought, feelings. So that probably doesn't hurt my word count, but even revised I couldn't pull more than 78,000 words. I'm currently at 95,000 on Fallen and it's not done. It's close to done, but it's not. Holy Wordcount, Batman!

What was different? My plotting technique changed quite a bit from those earlier versions. Instead of an outline detailing every scene, I wrote a synopsis. I know, the evil S word. I can't for the life of me write one of these when I'm done, but I found if I use it to plot....100K book, people.

I learned how to write a synopsis from a class taught by Katherine Garbera for Writing the Selling Silhouette Desire. During that class I plotted and created the synopsis for Catch a Star, which is now L.A. CINDERELLA. From that synopsis I wrote the story. Did the story change? Heck, yeah. But did the roadmap help? Heck, yeah.

For Fallen, I replotted again (cries softly inside), but this time I used the synopsis format.

First Paragraph - heroine, backstory and GMC (goals, motivation, conflict - what does she want, why does she want and what is keeping her from getting it)

Second paragraph - hero, backstory and GMC

If you have a villian you can do another paragraph on him.

What else do I need?

Beginning - how does it start? When does the hero and heroine first meet?

Plot points for the external conflict (making sure that the internal conflict also gets in there) and romance plot points.

  • External conflict plot points - plot points are your major events, generally there are three with the third being the black moment. With external plot points, think major setbacks or major victories that carry the story forward, but change the course.

  • Romance conflict points - first kiss, first sex (if it's in the book or even off screen), first realization of love by both hero and heroine and first declaration of love by hero and heroine

In between you have the filler. :) How do they get from Plot Point 1 to Plot Point 2, how do their feelings change, what has to happen before they can make it to that plot point and what decisions need to be made. This is the vague stuff in the synopsis, but sometimes clearer in my plotting synopsis.

Last but certainly not least is the ending. You need a direction to head so you aren't swimming in circles. Choose a course and aim for it, but realize that if another island with Scots in kilts show up along the path, that it's okay to head for that island instead. :) The main thing is that when you are finished, you can go back to the synopsis you formed in the beginning and tweak it to reflect what really happened in the book and then your synopsis is ready to go too. One less thing to worry about.

Maybe it's not the most elegant plotting device and my instructions may be confusing, but what can I say, I wrote over 4,000 words today and my brain is fried.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

End of Week One of Crazy Goals

9244 / 20000 words. 46% done!

Alright, so I didn't make my 20K for the week, putting me slightly behind. However, every day except Wed I had something else I had to do that I scheduled before this craziness began. Also, who gets Friday off after starting back to school on Monday. So I didn't get as much done as I hoped, but I have confidence that I can do 4000 words a day as on Wednesday.

Not much else to report. I'm going for 20K next week. We are still moving forward with Nora time, though not on the weekends.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Craziness I Has It

I'm horrible with goals. I make them and then I don't keep them, but I still try to make them. Since I'm not writing on vacation, I thought I'd look at my goals for the remainder of the year. Things I feel I have to get done this year include finally finishing the 3rd rewrite of Fallen and get Alex's story done and start Robert's story. Here's where the craziness begins. I can do all that if I write 2000 words a day while the kids are at school. Easy peasy. Piece of cake.


If I really want to kick into gear.... Are you prepared for the craziness?

I could finish Fallen and write the 4 Silhouettes I have plotted out and revise them before Christmas. Sounds great. Fantastic. The best I've ever done. Caveat...I have to write 4000 words a day except during revisions. I have accomplished up to 5000 words in a day, so I know it's possible. The real part of this is viewing my daytimes as worktime. When the kids leave for school, I have 7 hours. All my other obligations, cleaning, cooking, carting children around and checking email and playing on the internet, could wait until after the kids are home from school. Groceries can be bought on the weekend. And if I have to go to an appointment during the day I need to make up the hours in the evening.

Now that I've published, I want to stay that way. I want to write like crazy and clear out my idea folder and make those into books. I want to be able to earn a good wage for the time I put into the creation of my works. I want to feel that I can take a vacation and not feel guilty for not writing because I haven't been reaching my goals. I can do this. I can make this work. I'm insane, but it's completely doable.