Thursday, February 28, 2013

Row 80 Check-in, Late Again!

I blew right past last Sunday's check-in and now I'm late for Wednesday's.

Clearly, something's wrong. With me. ::sigh::

I was doing pretty good through Sunday too, really should have posted on a high note.
Last week, I did get three hours butt in chair--with some good advancement in the editing/rewriting.
Then, kaplouey!!!

I'm changing my goals...again. 

There's a part of me that is so disappointed in myself, for not rocking this last goal, for changing my goals again, for so many things... luckily, there is a louder, bossier part of me that says, "who gives a rat's ass? Do, what you have to do. And if that means changing your flipping goal every check-in, so be it!"

Without further ado, my new and improved goals:
Writing:
(Got this from Chuck Wendig's terrible minds kick butt blog)
Edit 5 pages a day
If writing is needed--added scene, expand a scene, write 350 words a day

Exercise:
Minimum of 22 minutes a day of one of the following:
Brisk walk
Run
Ice Skate
Stationary bike
Yoga
Pilates

Here I go again...I'm off to check on all of you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Lost Check-In


Holy lost check-in Batman! I completely forgot to post (or check-in with other ROWers) on Sunday!


What is up with that?

I don’t know.

Last check-in I decided I needed to change, re-word and re-imagine my goals. Here’s what I came up with:

BUTT IN CHAIR THREE HOURS A WEEK

Not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not on Pinterest

Working on manuscript—some manuscript lurve


I did get some work done this past week, got a couple scenes fleshed out, but I know I can do more. If I just stay in my chair.
Hope everyone had a more productive week than I did! Tell me about it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hello Wednesday!

Well now it's Thursday...nearly Friday!

Okay.
Wrote three more pages so far this week. Think I have to re-write my goals, I'm making that one of my goals for the rest of this week: rewrite goals!

That. Is about it.

Except

I'm in the middle of another change. At the beginning of last year I had a huge change--I was promoted and moved to a new library. Writing it makes it sound insignificant, but it wasn't. I had been at my old library for 15 years, I had connections with the patrons and the staff was my family.

Now I've made new connections and I love my "new" library...so, of course, I am gearing up for another change. I've been asked to supervise (circulation staff) two smaller libraries (I co-supervise at a large library right now). So, now two more libraries to get to know, staff and patrons alike.

I am bittersweet. It feels as if I have just found my land legs and now it's back to sea. But I am always up for a challenge and I know how lucky I am to have work--especially work I enjoy. I hope to be able to focus on writing again. Soon.

How's everyone else doing?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

ROUND & ROUND & ROUND OF WORDS

Hi Rowers!

A (short) List of Awesome:
Made dinner with youngest, in which a bacon weave was involved!


Filmed dog and youngest in popcorn catching contest!
video

Goals:
Having a weird time, pulling the proverbial teeth to get anything written. I have a you-know-what storm of happening right now, but I don't think that's it.

I was thinking about this as I folded some laundry--some good ideas can come whilst folding boxers--my characters came to mind and how they might feel about me NOT writing.

Which is when I started asking them questions...
Look, I know that sounds flaky, but it happened, and I went with it.

Here's what they said:
Me: So...what are you guys doing?
Van: What are we doing? What are you doing? Seems like a whole lot of nothing.
Eva: That's harsh. You don't have to be mean Van. Although, he kind of has a point.
Me: Okay, okay I know what you mean. I can't seem to get back in the story.
Eva: What helped you before?
Van: I hope it was the sex.
Eva: Oh, you!
Me: He's kind of right, when I made the big push to finish a lot of it was sex.
Van: Yes!
Me: But I think more than anything I love the banter.
Eva: Yes, I love it too. Never thought I was one for bantering, but he just brings it out in me.
Van: Really, I'd never guess.
Eva: There you have it, and that's why I have to say it to her.
Van: Touche.
Me: Ha! Okay, maybe I can do this now.
Van: Well, I hope so, I really want to get back to the...banter.
Eva: Hahaha...me too!

And then I wrote, now this was pretty late, and I only wrote one page, but it was one page that wasn't written before!

I realized how much I miss these characters, and I want to make their story as rich as I can. So, I'm doing it for them. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

18 THINGS (You Should Know About Writing)


Addensum: Hi ROWers! My check-in is after Jamie's great post

I am so happy to have Jamie Ayres here today with her fabulous self talking about 18 Things...you should know about writing, to coincide with her 18 Things YA book release! And now, here she is:

18 Things

You Should Know About Writing
1.      Agents/Editors say give us the stakes first. The Hunger Games is a great example. *Spoiler Alert* Prim gets picked at the reaping, Katniss takes her place. The author doesn't start at the moment her name gets called. It starts the day of the reaping so we have a few pages to get familiar with Katniss, know what the Hunger Games are, know the odds of her getting picked and how she protected her sister so Prim’s name is only in the drawing once. This makes the moment when Prim’s name gets called even more powerful, in a way it wouldn't have if we didn't know the circumstances leading up to that event.

2.      Create characters that are interesting, though they don’t need to be likable  They should be compelling and inspire the reader to want to read more. The hero/heroine should be identifiable from secondary characters. Secondary characters shouldn’t take over the story.

3.      Know your characters. Do they have any quirks? Words they use too much? Imagine their personalities and spread their voice throughout the whole thing, so it’s really them when they ‘speak.’ Use a plotting table to help you organize your characters and their scenes, here's one in this post!

4.      Dialogue should always serve a purpose. Every quote should move the story along, show character, or share new information. Also, be a conversationalist. Noah Lukeman, author of The First Five Pages, states: “The most common malady is use of dialogue to convey backstory. The solution is to follow this rule: Dialogue should not be used to state things both characters already know, that is, one character should not remind the other character of something. It is an obvious ploy, intended only for the reader.” (page 94) In summary, no dialogue information dumps!

5.      Avoid dialogue tags. Always avoid things like responded, assessed, confirmed, and whatever else there is. He said/she said. Those tags disappear in the prose and make writing flow.

6.      Know the difference between beats and tags. Tags are said, asked, etc  Beats are actions identifying the speaker without needing to use a tag. With tags, you want to keep it simple. Use said most of the time, unless you want to show something in the voice or tone, but even then, use it carefully. Things like smile shouldn't be used as a tag. You can’t smile a word. Actions like smiling, sighing, pacing, are beats. Here’s the difference: “I love you,” she said. TAG. She looked down and sighed. “I love you.” BEAT. When using a beat, there’s no need to use a tag. Pick one.


7.      Avoid impossible simultaneous actions: Closing the door, she hugged him. As written, this is impossible. If she’s closing the door, she can’t hug someone at the same time. In that use, use either “and” or “then.”

8.      SNT (Show, Not Tell). Think of Twilight. We are in Bella’s head, LIVING each moment as she experiences it. The action is ACTIVE, not passive. Many writers make the mistake of telling the story rather than showing it. This happened, then this happened, then this happened. Find all the was/had/have/were and delete them to avoid passive sentences. Ex: He was walking. Change to: He jogged/strolled/paced/ambled.


9.      Each scene needs a beginning, middle, and end. It needs a purpose, it needs to do more than establish tension, and it needs some sort of resolution. It really should end on a hook that makes the reader want to read more. Don’t just blend scenes together with time passing in between, with no clear purpose or impact. Show the character’s journey, their pain, and their triumph. Make them as memorable as can be.

10.  In Techniques of the Selling Writer, writing guru Dwight V. Swain teaches us to spotlight three things: desire, danger, decision. Someone wants to attain or retain something. Something else threatens his chances of doing so. He decides to fight the threat. The thing Character wants, the danger threatening fulfillment of his desires, and the decision he makes, determine what specific readers will enjoy the story. You have to give your reader a reason to worry.


11.  Don’t take on too many things in one novel. If there’s too many storylines and minor storylines, it could cause the main story to not be developed fully. The beauty of fictional novels is you can always have sequels!

12.  Write with all the senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. The Bookshelf Muse is a great resource for this!

13.  Use Adjectives sparingly. Especially avoid redundant modifiers: small puppies, yellow daffodils, cheerful smiles. Instead, choose adjectives that are unique and add comprehension.

14.  Avoid adverbs. Constance Hale notes in her book, Sin and Syntax, “Adverbs are crashers in the syntax house party. More often than not, they should be deleted when they sneak in the back door.”Most over-used adverb intensifiers: absolutely, definitely, particularly, actually, basically, decidedly, quite, very, really, totally, madly, dearly, utterly, absolutely, completely, mainly, usually, too.


15.  Avoid the Preach ‘N’ Teach mentality. People read fiction as an escape, so don’t try to shove a lesson down their throats.

16.  Do a Find on the word ‘that’ in your manuscript and remove any unnecessary usage. Read the sentence without ‘that’ and if it still makes sense, delete ‘that.’’


17.  Don’t head-hop. Stay in one character’s POV (point of view) within a scene. Also, make sure you use only information the narrator can know.

18.  Don’t bog your story down with backstory/flashbacks, which are often frowned upon. The main problem with backstory/flashbacks is there isn't a lot of action. They’re fine for a change of pace, but they shouldn't be the vehicle for the entire novel.

*What about you? Is there anything else I should’ve included in my list of 18 Things? Keep in mind agents/editors get HUNDREDS, yes, hundreds of queries every week. Your work can’t be good. It needs to be flippin’ fantastic to stand out. The competition is fierce, and there is no room for error.

Okay, enough said. Feel free to throw darts at my image now out of frustration (believe me, been there, done that, still not through learning yet).
Hope we can still be friendsJ

~Jamie Ayres 
 Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a public school teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. 18 Things is her debut novel. Visit her website at www.jamieayres.com.
18 Things is available here:
Add 18 Things to your TBR list!

ROW80 check-in:
List of Awesome
Jamie Ayres doing a guest post here!
My youngest turned 14
I've finally cracked the no research thing and have some cool stuff
Well into writing (yes, I know, starting isn't completing) the next big scene that's missing.
Short check-in. Hope everyone is doing Awesome!



Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday, Sunday... or Monday

Quick and dirty...and, um, late check-in.

Finally started to do some research, yay!
Did not write a new scene, boo!
Sponsorship, yay!
Life balance/order, yay-ish! This is not so cut and dry--have some soul-searching on this, but feeling confident.

Have been busy getting a guest post together from the lovely and talented Jamie Ayres

Her new YA 18 Things is released and we're celebrating! She'll be here tomorrow Tuesday February, 5th! With a cool 18 Things You Should Know as a Writer post. Check it out tomorrow!

Off to check-up on how you all are doing!