Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

It’s better than wishin’ and hopin’, I guess.

I did spend more than an hour writing today, so “Operation Treat Writing Like a Day Job” is still going strong on Day 3. The bad news is, it took me more than an hour to write about 550 words. I’m definitely not on a roll at the moment.

As usual, the dialogue comes easiest for me. (I’m giving my first presentation on writing good dialogue in March, to my NARWA sisters. Time to start doing some research on what makes good dialogue so I sound like I know what I’m talking about!)

When I finished writing the 500 or so words, it was after 1 p.m. — time for a lunch break. After lunch, I started looking for a paper I wrote for my English novel class my senior year of college. It compared and contrasted the heroes of “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights,” and theorized about the effects the Bronte sisters’ brother, Branwell, had on both. The book club was reading “Jane Eyre” and I thought it’d make a good addition.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a hard copy. I think it’s on disk somewhere, if I can find a computer that reads small floppy disks anymore.

I did, however, run across something else: The first novel I wrote that I consciously tried to make NOT a romance. The “hero” — if you can call a drunken 20-year-old who occasionally slaps the heroine around  a hero — is dark and tormented; the heroine has her own demons.

What did my characters do? They ended up getting together anyway, but not necessarily in a good way. I never finished it, because I think to give it a satisfactory ending, I have to break them up and leave them broken because their relationship is so dysfunctional … but I can’t bring myself to do that. I want them to make it, and be happy.

The thing about it is, some of it’s pretty darn good. I have no idea where it would sell … parts are a mess. It tends to be superficial, and doesn’t do much more than scratch the surface of my characters.

There’s no head-hopping, though, because it’s told completely in first person, from the heroine’s point of view — until she goes into labor. Then I switch to his POV, and I think that’s part of the reason I’ve stopped writing. It’s much harder to be in Gareth’s head than it was to be in Kara’s — she was, as all my heroines are, somewhat like me.

It’s so different from what I normally write, too. I usually do lighthearted romantic comedy. This is much, much darker, with abuse on lots of levels, an incomplete trip to the abortion clinic and visits to see Gareth’s father in jail.

I’ve no idea what to do with it. Probably nothing. I don’t need to go back to the place I was when I was writing it. I don’t remember liking that place all that much.

January 17, 2010

Musings, quest


Again, I went to my NARWA meeting … and again I was inspired by a great speaker. Jennifer Ashley talked about how to finish that manuscript and get it published. And as usual, I had to come back to Flagstaff and head straight to work when I wanted to go home and write.

Agents and the business of writing were on the table, but the most important take-home point for me was this:

Treat writing like it’s your day job and it will become your day job.

It sounds like such a simple concept … yet I’ve been guilty of writing only when “I feel like it” or when I’m inspired.

What I need to do is get in the habit of writing every day, whether I feel like it or not.

Hmm. Now that I think about it, discipline is a big problem in other areas of my life, too. I’m trying to lose weight, but I don’t always stick to my Weight Watchers plan — I do it when I feel like it. (That’s probably why I’m having trouble taking off the last few, eh?) …  All too often, I feel like eating something I shouldn’t, like gooey, cheesy Italian or Mexican food.

But that’s another blog! 😀

Now, let’s get back to the subject at hand: writing. For the next week, I’m going to try something different. Every day, I’m going to spend at least an hour writing — preferably before I do anything else. (That includes hopping online, one of my biggest distractions. Darn that Bejeweled on Facebook! I pull up the screen to play one game and end up playing for an hour …)

I’m also going to finally finish my query letter for “Operation Snag Mike Brad” and start looking for the agent of my dreams. I got some great feedback from out chapter president and will be using it to polish up my query.

It’s time for me to make writing my day job.

I’ll be logging in nightly to report how many minutes I spent writing, so please keep checking in to keep me honest.

October 16, 2009

Contests, Musings

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How is it that something I never thought much about before last week is now popping up everywhere?

I just checked out The Seekers blog, and their latest post is about “writing ‘guy.'”

Last week, after checking out another post, I found myself asking if guys really speak in shorter sentences. (It was something I’d never considered — guess that’s the curse of having a loquacious boyfriend.)

Apparently, most men aren’t so talkative … and they’re not as tortured by feelings as our heroines are. Who knew that while she’s torturing herself with a play-by-play of what went wrong on their latest date, he’s thinking about car repairs?

At least that’s Dave Barry’s take, as posted at Seekerville. I think I need to get his book … or some other one that’ll help my men sound more like men.

Hmm. Something else to worry about before I send off the manuscript to the Golden Heart contest. Aargh!

Well, at least I had a productive morning before our NARWA board meeting yesterday. And we had a great meeting. Now it’s time to get to work on the next issue of our chapter’s newsletter.

Oh, jeez … more stuff to do. Why’d I have to go and think about that?

October 9, 2009

Musings, Progress


I thought I was making good progress in getting my manuscript ready for the Golden Heart competition. I’ve edited 80 pages, trying to dig deeper into the minds of my characters and getting rid of a lot of “he said, she said” tags, replacing them with action tags instead.

I’ve even succeeded in making good, ol’ dependable Brad a little less boring — at least I think I have.

So I’ve been hard at work and I thought I was getting the job done. Then I read today’s entry over at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. Now I’m not so sure.

Am I choosing vivid enough nouns and verbs, instead of relying on adjectives and adverbs? Sometimes.

Does each scene end with a hook? Well, maybe. I want to keep reading … but that may be because I know what’s coming up next.

Do my characters’ speech and interior monologues sound natural and appropriate to their backgrounds, interests, etc.? I certainly hope so, but I’ve never given it much thought.

Do their speeches take gender into account? God, no. Do men really speak in shorter sentences than women? I didn’t know that.

Do the syntax and paragraphing creatively showcase my voice and make it distinctive? Hmm. I just write and my voice shines through — I hope.

Have I used short paragraphs to speed up the pacing? Ha! I have that one covered. As a journalist, I’m used to writing shorter paragraphs.

Is my synopsis short and concise, focusing on the hero and heroine’s GMC? Short, yes. GMC? Not so much, considering the story was until recently short on that.

There’s so much to think about — more than I realized. I really do have my work cut out for me.