Posts Tagged ‘NARWA’
NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I’m all in.
In 2009, I participated for the first time. My goal was to finish a novel I’d already started, “Blind Date Bride.” I had about 40K to go. I only got 25K written during NaNo, but finished my first draft before Christmas.
This year, I’m going to go for the whole enchilada: A complete novel, from Word One.
That’s not to say I haven’t done a little prewriting. The idea is actually one I came up with while working on my first MS, Brad & Erin’s story. It’s the tale of Brad’s brother, Kenny. Because he lives in the same city as his mother, poor Kenny bears the brunt of his Ma’s matchmaking efforts … and it’s driving him crazy.
On the day Brad brings Erin home to meet his folks, Kenny also turns up with a woman he says is his fiancee … but she’s really just a friend Kenny has asked to pretend to be his fiancee to get his Ma off his back. But Kenny, always a practical joker, decides to take it to the next level — he has Kristi pretend to be a completely unsuitable fiancee, complete with clothes short and tight enough to give his dad apoplexy.
Of course, since I write romance, Kenny and Kristi have to fall for each other. But by the time they do, his Ma can’t stand the poor girl (who is really very sweet). Kenny, afraid to just come clean about the mother of all deceptions, convinces Kristi to undertake a “Pygmalion” type of transformation. (Hence the cheesy working title I put on my NaNo page, “My Fair Fiancee.”)
Don’t knock it. I told you I suck at titles! For me, they’re like the photo kickers I have to write for work. Once in a while I come up with one that’s a real gem: The picture of a deer in a field, looking straight at the camera comes to mind. I slugged it “You lookin’ at me?” But most of the time, they’re pretty lame. (Think “Fun with science” for Flagstaff’s recent science festival. Yeah. That‘ll bring home the prize for headline writing.) 😉
I did the pre-plotting work a while back, after one of our NARWA meetings went over the “Book in a Month” book. The goal was to do it in 60 days, before the next meeting. I got up to Day 4 or 5 (research) and petered out. Research isn’t my favorite thing, so I try to make my characters at least a little like me. I worked as a DJ for my college radio station (Kenny’s a DJ). But I still need to talk to someone, because I’m sure it’s different now that radio stations are all-digital. (Heck, most of our music was on CDs, but we still had to cue up vinyl from time to time … and that was way back in 1993!)
I’m also going to try to come up with character arcs for both Kenny & Kristi before Nov. 1. I see a cram session with Debra Dixon’s “GMC” in my future. Maybe if I focus on that before I even start, I won’t get the “your book doesn’t have enough conflict” criticism. (I seem to get that a lot … and as much as I wish I could, I can’t discount EVERYONE who’s told me that. I’m a Libra — Libras don’t like conflict … or so I’ve been told. I believe it, too. I’d rather attempt to swim across a flood-swollen Mississippi than have a fight with someone.)
Check out my NaNo page here. I put a few more details in my “novel info” page.
Every few months, it wallops me upside the head.
What is it, you ask? Nothing good, that’s for sure. It’s the fear that, even after years of writing — and getting a degree in journalism, I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
The familiar foe hit me again this weekend. My local RWA chapter, NARWA, hosted Erin Quinn for morning and afternoon workshops.
After lunch, she talked about creating a setting so strong that it’s really a character. (Think the storms in “Wizard of Oz” or the jungle in “Jurassic Park,” she said.)
The comment that stuck with me most was this: “If at the end of the scene, you could pluck the players and dialog out and plant them anywhere else without some major work, you haven’t done your job.”
Uh-oh. If that’s true, I’m in trouble. Many of my characters’ conversations — witty, laugh-packed chats — take place in restaurants or other standard “date” places … generic, could-be-anywhere places.
I think this is where my training in journalism serves me ill. When you’re writing a news story, you relay quotes and facts … not take note of how birds flitted past overhead while your source was speaking, or how his eyes were the exact same shade of periwinkle as his sweater.
Heck … a journalist probably wouldn’t even use “periwinkle.” Don’t use a $10 word when a 10-cent one (blue) gets the point across just as well.
As a result, my prose is relatively straightforward. “He laughed.” “She wrinkled her nose.” “He bolted upright so fast he nearly fell out of his hammock.”
You get the idea.
My GH entries may need more help than I think. Good thing I still have some time to make ’em shine.
One of the goals I set out at our July NARWA meeting was to send at least two queries on “Beauty and the Ballplayer.”
Well, it’s still not done, even though the meeting is a week away. What’s stopping me?
It’s ridiculous, really. I keep telling myself (rather stupidly) that if I submit a query now, and they like it (really LIKE it), I won’t be eligible for the Golden Heart.
See? I told you it was ridiculous.
Really. What would be better in the long run? Becoming a published author or entering the Golden Heart again (and potentially not winning a darn thing)?
So first thing Monday morning, I’m sending out those two queries — one directly to Harlequin, since it’s a category novel, and one to an agent who represents such things. (I just need to check my list to see which ones do.)