Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog’

I’ve been on the social media highway for about three years now. It all started with QueryTracker, then branched out to RallyStorm, then to Facebook and Twitter, and finally, my blog. I’ve spent countless hours on each site, chatting with other writers, learning techniques, learning how-to’s and don’ts, all the while watching the network grow and branch out in directions I’d never thought possible.

And now there’s even MORE avenues to get connected!

Klout, Google+, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and now Pinterest…

How can I possibly keep up!!!!!!

*flails* *runs into wall* *passes out on floor*

So, folks, how do you keep a steady pace on the social networking highway without running out of gas? How do you find time to do real life things, like, gee I don’t know, WRITE??? ;)

This week for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog, Deb answers the question of what inspires her.

Read Full Post »

Award-winning author Jessica Bell (blogger of The Alliterative Allomorph, poet extraordinaire, talented musician, and gifted writer) is hosting a writer’s retreat in ITHICA, GREECE this August. Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest has signed on to be there too!

Here’s the link: The Homeric Writers’ Retreat and Workshop

Man, oh man, if I didn’t have a hundred million things going on, I’d totally sign up!!!

That is my Writer Wish.

How about you? What does your writer self wish for?

Check out Lydia’s response for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog’s topic of Inspiration!

Read Full Post »

Deb asks:

What type of book do you read for writing inspiration, and why? Do you read fiction or non-fiction, and what genres? Mysteries and YA, or archeology and astronomy?

Great question!

The simple answer is I read YA books to inspire me for my YA WIPs and I read middle grade for middle grade inspiration. ;)

I prefer paranormal, horror, sci fi, fantasy, and all things magical. I also like unique and “odd” things. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children fit the bill for unique and odd. The voice, while it seemed “old” for YA, along with the isolated setting and eerie photographs, really created a fresh landscape that captivated me and totally got my creative mind going. The Marbury Lens would be another example.

I’m not big on non-fic. At. All. Lol! I’ve read enough textbooks in my lifetime. That’s enough non-fiction.

On the other hand, there are a lot of great books for writers on technique, like Save the Cat. It’s on my TBR list…towards the bottom, haha!

How about you? What books do you read for inspiration?

Read Full Post »

Over the course of the month, we’ve covered revising tips, revising how-to’s, and even shared personal experiences with revising.

Awesome!

Regardless, I often find myself avoiding the entire process.

Why?

I have stage fright. Performance anxiety.

I psych myself out.

When I picture a manuscript, I see a intricately woven tapestry built over weeks and months of looming (uh, is that a word?) and weaving threads.

Sure, there are mistakes, knots, wonky stitches, but how can you cut out a section of a tapestry without redoing the whole thing? How can you tear apart something you so lovingly created?

Well, in reality, a manuscript isn’t a tapestry at all. It’s a word document. Words can be changed. Scenes can be deleted–without upsetting the flow of the rest of the piece!

But it’s still a lot of work.

I have some thoughts on how to make things easier. (Yes, I’ve tried these and it works!)

How to get to gettin’ when revising:

  • Schedule time to revise. (Saying “I’ll do this tomorrow or later” isn’t good enough. Just like starting a diet tomorrow, tomorrow never comes because a specific moment is never really determined. I mean, really, you can put off tomorrow for years. Right?)
  • Make your environment comfy. (Who wants to sit in an austere, cold, drafty, dark, boring place? Get your sweater, cosy socks, water bottle, coffee mug, favorite snack, and cushiest pillow.)
  • Get rid of distractions. (Turn off the TV. Lock the kids out. Turn off Facebook, Twitter, email, G+, YouTube, NPR, etc. I know it’s hard, but we survived without them before, right? So we can do it again.)
  • Open. The. Document. (Just because you’ve turned the computer on doesn’t mean you’ve got your manuscript open.)
  • Turn on the tunes. (I know several writers who develop soundtracks for each manuscript. I don’t, but I DO love to listen to music while I work.)
  • Be in the moment. (Don’t look at the entire document. Look at the first sentence. Then the second. Then the third. And so on.)
  • Copy and paste. (Hit a really tough spot? Copy the section into another document and have at it. If you don’t like it, don’t bother switching it out. But I BET you’ll make it better.)
  • When revising QUALITY is better than QUANTITY. (Rough drafts are for quantity. Revising is where you make every word count. It’s a laborious process, but take your time anyway. The slower you go, the more you’ll catch.)
  • Exercise Patience. (If you need a break or need to redo a section you’ve already revised, don’t beat yourself up. Listen to your instincts.)

What helps you revise?

Be sure to check out Deb’s response to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog topic of expectations!

Read Full Post »

Last week, I outlined a revising strategy, describing how it happens in layers.

This week, I want to address HOW to actually revise. I mean, strategies and theories are great, but when you sit down to DO something, how does it get done?

Well, thankfully, there’s no one way, which is why I want y’all to share your strategy in the comments. The more ideas we discuss, the more help people get, right?

Lemme share my technique…which can vary depending on my mood, LOL!

Sometimes, I revise using my computer. I open the document, enlarge the screen so I can see the words without squinting (I’m nearsighted, what can I say?), and read each scene paying attention to flow and plot advancement. (I change typos during this stage too, because, darn it, they’re there no matter how many times I read the damn manuscript!) Like I said last week, if a scene doesn’t advance the plot, I delete it.

I try to read as quickly as I can…not like speed reading, but more like reading in a condensed amount of time so I don’t lose the story thread and confuse details. (Time between readings makes my memory fuzzy, you know?)

Sometimes, I’ll use my iPad. It changes the “look” of the document, making it look more like a book. Somehow, it makes the words, sentences, and paragraphs seem new. I can often pick out redundancies, echoes, wonky dialogue, etc. easier that way.

Sometimes (after I’ve already revised a couple of times) I print out the document. I may still encounter lots of cutting at this stage (by then I have lots of beta feedback, several weeks or even months have passed, and I have a whole new perspective on the project), and it’s quite fun to slash a line through an entire page. I also mark up the hell out of each page, crossing out crappy bits and rewriting better bits in the margins. Then I transcribe the changes on the computer and re-read it one to two more times, tweaking as I go.

After revising the printed manuscript, I can end up with something like this:

(Note: This is not my actual revision…aftermath. But it can sure feel like it!)

How about you? What does your revising strategy entail?

Check out Sarah’s response to her question about writing expectations for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog chain!

Read Full Post »

Overhauling a 80,000 word manuscript is a daunting process. You can’t catch everything at once. That’s why revising is a process that involves layering.

Your first draft no doubt contains many writing strengths. It also has a lot of rough edges. Don’t despair! Be proud of what you’ve accomplished!

And get ready to rip and tear.

Be brave with the delete key, keeping these tips in mind. ;)

Layers to consider:

The first pass through your rough draft should focus solely on what to keep and what to chuck. So, you’ve got a cute scene where your main character has a cutsy moment with her cat. If that’s the only scene with the cat, bye bye kitty. Your main character takes a shower, basking in lavender soap. FAB. But if she’s not joined by the hottie who she’s jonesing for or she’s not washing blood out of her hair to get rid of evidence connecting her to a crime, then you don’t need it.

Basically, EVERY SCENE NEEDS TO ADVANCE THE PLOT. If it doesn’t, chuck it! (I promise, it’ll be okay.)

Once you’ve determined what can stay and you’ve deleted the rest, then you can focus on the following layers:

  • Characterization–Have you described your characters so people can picture them? Have you made them interesting and quirky? Are they a cliche? (I hope not!) ;)
  • Consume Milk Chocolate
  • Character Arcs–How does your main characters viewpoint or perspective change as the story progresses?
  • Consume chocolate mousse
  • Description–Can the reader envision your setting or how your characters look? Make sure this is balanced! Too much of description can bog the pace…too little can leave the reader confused.
  • Consume chocolate cake
  • Emotion/Conflict–SHOW, don’t TELL! We want to feel what the characters are feeling, not be told, right? And if you want to keep a reader hooked, make sure the characters are at odds somehow.
  • Consume Death by Chocolate ice cream
  • Dialogue–Tighten, tighten, tighten! We don’t need the “Hi, how are ya?’s” cluttering up a page. Get to the point and be succinct.
  • Consume hot cocoa–whit or milk chocolate!
  • Action Scenes–Use strong words/verbs and make it clear.
  • Consume a dark chocolate truffle…or ten.
  • Tension–You need this on EVERY page!!!! (If there’s no tension, it may be a clue to nix something, right?)
  • Consume chocolate covered caramels until your fillings fall out.
  • Plots and sub-plots–This is something that outliners tackle ahead of time, but could still need a lot of revising depending on how the characters dictate their own story. The plot is the skeleton of your story, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Use sub-plots (maybe with secondary characters) to keep the interest alive.
  • Consume a mocha frappuccino.
  • Grammar and sentence structure–This is KEY of course. Vary your sentence length. Use the grammar to perfect your voice. Use as few words as possible. If you’ve got a lot of verbiage, you could be slowing down your pace!
  • Consume your body weight in M&M’s!

You don’t have to follow these layers in order, but I would recommend saving the grammar and sentence structure until later because why spend time perfecting a sentence if it’s gonna end up getting nixed because you don’t need that scene?

Lydia answers Sarah’s sisterhood question about expectations today. Check it out!

Read Full Post »

Sarah Fine (blogger of The Strangest Situation and writer repped by Kathleen Ortiz) asks:

Where do your expectations for your writing (career/skill/quality/achievements) come from? Is the source internal, external, or both? And how do you cope when you don’t meet them?

This question is SO pertinent to what I’ve been grappling with over the fall. Like, seriously.

When I first started writing, I did it for the sheer enjoyment. In the back of my mind, I mused about how cool it would be to see my work published, but I didn’t really think it was possible. As I continued to write, I noticed progression in my skill.

Then the craziest thought popped into my head:

I want to be published and I’m going to actually DO something about it!

Gosh, it would be grand to be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King. I also know that’s a looooooong shot. So, to be more realistic, I’d like to see my novels make it to print and I’d like to see a fair amount of people read them.

I do expect to hold a bound novel with my name on the cover. Others have expressed the same vision.

But it hasn’t happened yet.

And that leads to a LOT of frustration for me. So much so, that I contemplated quitting and didn’t write for several months. There’s a natural fallow time for every writer, but this time seemed to be…the end.

It looked like my way to cope was to finally face the “truth” that it wasn’t going to happen and give up.

I thought about that.

And thought about it.

And thought about it.

(I’m a shrink and a bit obsessive, so I thought about it a lot, okay?)

And thought about it.

Finally, I realized that I’d given away control. I’d let the industry dictate how I did things. I let it beat me down.

I’ve never done that before.

Then I remembered that everyone’s path to publication is unique. No way is right or wrong, better or worse, than any other.

For example, I started at a community college, then transfered to a four-year school before applying for medical school. I was rejected the first year (a not uncommon thing). I tried the next year and got in. Medical school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I persevered. I got my MD. And I did it in an unconventional way. But it’s still an MD.

Publishing my work can be the same. I may not follow the path that most traditionally pubbed authors do. And that’s okay.

…I think I got off track a bit. Pretty normal, considering my general approach to life goals, LOL!

Bottom line, when in the writing game, I think it’s reasonable to expect the unexpected. Ha!

How about you? What are your expectations for writing and how do you handle it when it doesn’t work out the way you envision?

Stay tuned for Lydia’s response next week!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,711 other followers