Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Being Sneaky About It.

I think my friend Brenda has already mastered the art of "sneaky" writing--as in, wherever you go (sports practice, etc.) you whip out that keyboard and start hammering away. My Alphasmart has become my buddy--I take him with me everywhere. I like the Alphasmart vs a Mini, because I'm not tempted to surf the Web. I just WRITE.

So, when I live in my car, I can turn it into Writing Time. While I'm grabbing lunch, I'll park myself in front of the computer and get some words in. Waiting for a load of wash or dishes? That's worth 30 minutes at least!

I guess I really REALLY want to get this story out, so I'm being creative about it. Usually I can't fit the writing in, but this time, I am compelled to at least get 1K in a day, preferably 2K.

I WILL make the June 1st deadline! I WILL! I'm almost halfway there!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Can you say "On Fire?"

This book has seemed effortless, so far. I still don't have a plot, or even a linear synopsis (totally crazy and capricious of me) but I wrote 4300 words yesterday. I think all the words and scenes I thought about during Spring Break (and I wasn't able to write) came pouring out, literally.

I'm trying my hand at Urban Fantasy, I've abandoned my medieval-era folk tale, and I'm blasting full steam ahead on this novel. I just want to get it OUT. Before I lose the flow of it. I haven't, yet, which I find strange. Usually when I have a burst of words, I leave it for a few days, which turn into weeks, and I abandon it. Not this time. I hope to have it finished by the end of May. Then it will go to trusty readers, and then one more round of edits and off it will go! I am NOT going to let another year go by and not have new material.
We are moving into a new house in late July, and since I have a BAZILLION things to do as far as the move is concerned (I am packing myself this time!) I have given myself until noon, every day, to write. Then, after that, the writing gets put away and it's MOVE PREP time. It will be the only way I can keep sane, because I really really really want to get this story written and out there.

Let's hope the momentum stays "momenting!" ;-) Yes, I know that's not a word.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh, !#$&**!!: Cussing in YA.

I know, EVERYONE cusses. But that doesn't mean it's okay. I'm pretty devout in my religion, and I grew up knowing cuss words were NOT acceptable. But we all slip from time to time...

My dad used to say "Saying bad words shows lack of intelligence, because people can't think of anything better to say." My mom doesn't cuss. She doesn't even do "Bible Swears." My dad doesn't really cuss, either. Not the big ones, anyway.

So, why did I turn out this way? I LOVE to cuss! Well, Bible swears, and I don't care if it shows a lack of intelligence on my part, but sometimes, situations call for a good old "SH*T" bomb. Granted, I draw the line at the F-word. I just don't say it.

Here's my dilemma. Kids these days swear. And they don't just use polite, bible swears. They drop F-bombs like they're nothing. Especially when they get emotional. That's just the way they talk.

So, I'm writing a YA urban fantasy, and my heroine has grown up with a very religious mother, who doesn't like her to cuss, but she kind of does anyway. So far, she's said "bull***" and "d***" and "b***."
And I actually cringe, when she says these words. But in staying true to the character, she HAS to say these words. I mean, when she gets sucked out of an airplane and is plummeting to her death, "OH, GOLLY DARN GEE WHIZ, I'M ABOUT TO DIE" doesn't exactly cut it, you know?

I've already told her she can't say the F-word. Because I'm the Boss. But I just don't want to cut the swears. Because it sounds...weird when she doesn't cuss. NORMAL PEOPLE CUSS. Even Stephenie Meyer cussed in her books. (Well, in her defense, I think all she had in there were Bible Swears, a.k.a "H***" and "D***.") But she recognized that in order to be plausible, her characters had to cuss--even if it was just a little. But people weren't happy with it. Because people in my church don't cuss. They just DON'T.

So, do I stay true to the character, and let her rip? Or do I stay true to my guilty conscience and censor her language??? Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumping Up and Down and Screaming.

Since I like to write Historical fiction, or sometimes, fiction where my characters need to "know their history," I tend to do a lot of research. It's a thing I have. I know, since I frequent History forums, that there are some academics (and some amateur historians, like myself) who literally jump up and down and scream over some writers' inattention to details, or historical inaccuracies.  I always chalk it up to laziness. Some writers just want to WRITE, and not be bogged down with the details. Unfortunately, if you're writing HISTORICAL fiction, you need to know your stuff.

Case in point, I'm having a devil of a time finding a continuously occupied castle in France, built around 13th century, that survived the French Revolution, invasions, occupations, all the wars, etc. and has remained intact, privately owned, and NOT BEEN COMMERCIALIZED. I've found several very small Chateaux, but not anything on a grand scale. The only alternative seems to be a FICTITIOUS castle. I thought I'd found the perfect place to build one, but unfortunately, the land would have been under English control (due to Eleanor of Aquitaine's marriage to Henry II) during that century. So, the French king certainly wouldn't have built a French fortress on English-controlled soil. ARGH. Back to the drawing board. See? Historians know crap like this. They would wrinkle up their little foreheads in disdain and say "Well, that's not historically accurate, or plausible."

So? I am going to take one of the smaller chateaus I found and make it "bigger." I am going to MAKE ONE UP. It will be a fortress that has withstood the test of Time and no one really bothers with. Highly unlikely in this day and age, and I don't want any jumping/screaming/protesting, so I'm trying to be as faithful to the landscape as possible. Very tricky, seeing as I've never stepped even one toe in France.

Enter Google Earth, and Google, ad nauseum. Love it. My castle lies in the heavily wooded hills of Perche, near the Loire Valley. Very private. Easy to have an 800-year old medieval fortress with lots of underground tunnels and vaults.

I even love my castle name: Chateaux Rocher Noir: a.k.a. The Black Rock! oooohhhhh.....writing is SO FUN!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

What I Think of Amanda Hocking.

 I've heard all the hype. I've heard she's wildly successful because she churns 'em out ('em being 60,000+ word novels) faster than a Hyundai factory churns out cars. I've also heard, since she's released them onto Amazon herself, without the benefits of professional editing and packaging behind them, that they have serious grammatical errors and plot holes, and they're "kinda" rough. So I've heard. Yet people buy them anyway. She's made herself into a millionaire, with all the series she has out there. And now that she's signed with St. Martin's Press, she's a millionaire a few times over. Then I read somewhere she can write a novel in 2 weeks (rough first draft, but STILL, WOW). Because she starts writing at nine at night, and doesn't stop until about 8 or 9 in the morning. And she does this EVERY night until it's done. (Yes, when I read this I wondered what does this girl do other than sleep and write???) I mean, how does someone turn novels out so quickly? They HAVE to be crap!

I decided to see for myself. I downloaded Book One of the MY BLOOD APPROVES series. Sure, there are grammatical errors. Sure, the writing is rough. But you know what? She did it. She sucked me in (pardon the pun) and frankly, I got caught up in the story. My daughter would love these stories, if they didn't have sex and swearing in them (she's 13 and yes, I still watch what she reads).  I found myself actually enjoying the books so much, I forgave the grammar and stinted (in some parts) writing. Amanda Hocking is a darn good storyteller. I am finishing up Book 4 in the series, and will probably download another series, if the content appeals to me.

Now that Ms. Hocking has a big ol' publisher behind her upcoming series, I can only imagine, with the help of an editor and publicist, how big a name she will become. Because, yes, she's that good.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out of the Comfort Zone.

I'm a "safe" writer. I write stories about generally "good" people who have sometimes stressful and bad things happen to them, but they usually overcome them, grow in the process, and live happily ever after.


I guess you could say my writing is pretty formulaic. So, since the first stage is recognizing the "issue," I have decided to try my hand at...different writing. I'm writing a YA Urban Fantasy. My heroine in this story is flawed. She's annoying. She lives in an imperfect world. She makes mistakes and goofs up.

I kind of can't stand her right now. But she is who she is, and her journey has begun. Oh, and that's another thing. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen to her, yet. I'm totally pantsing this one right now. ANOTHER thing I never do.

Here's to writing outside the comfort zone!