Posts Tagged ‘ novels ’

Just Do It

startingblock

The Nike slogan is all too appropriate when it comes to setting and meeting goals. I’ve recently started writing a new book after several stutter starts with a separate book that I finally decided to set aside for the time being. While it’s sometimes difficult to start over or make changes in your life, sometimes the only way to begin is by just doing it. Instead of waiting until tomorrow or a special occasion or when the mood strikes. So instead of waiting until tomorrow to eat better, exercise more, write that book, mend those fences, begin today! 🙂

 

Fresh Starts

rewritingYou’ve gotta know when to hold and know when to fold…For the past several months I’ve been working on writing a YA novel. I had an idea and ran with it. Then I hit a wall. I wasn’t sure where to go with the plot and the characters I had been developing seemed flat and insincere. So after already writing several thousand words, I scrapped what I had been working on and started over. I made more notes, developed a new plot line that I thought would flow better, and rewrote where I wanted the characters to go and how I hoped they would develop. Then I started fresh.

After writing for a few more months, I hit another wall. Once again I was discontent with how my characters were developing and where my story was headed. I pushed on each time because it’s really hard to throw everything away after spending so much time and thought on what I had already written. I got to a point where I either had to say this isn’t working out and begin again or push forward and hope the issues I was having would sort themselves out. The first time I restarted it was because I was excited about what I was writing, the story and the characters. But now faced with the “do I continue?” dilemma once again, I realized that I’ve stopped looking forward to what I was writing. Writing had become tedious and more work than fun. I had ceased making time for my writing.

So I’ve decided to start over completely from scratch. New genre, new ideas, new characters. While I still have hopes to return to my YA novel, I’m moving on. You may notice that I’ve reset my word count widget to track the progress of my new book. I’m very enthusiastic about this new book and I’m hoping that this fresh start will reinvigorate my writing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write! 🙂

 

Getting Geared Up for NaNoWriMo

For the past two years I’ve worked with my library to host a variety of National Novel Writing Month events. For those of you who aren’t familiar, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) writers are invited to sign up on nanowrimo.org (if you want to keep track of your progress and/or get some great support from fellow writers) and pledge to write 50,000 (a short novel) during the month of November. It’s crazy, but very rewarding!

This year we’re featuring a number of local NJ authors like Alissa Grosso, Charlotte Bennardo, Natalie Zaman, and Corey Rosen Schwartz, among other talented writers. They will talking about great topics that are pertinent to budding writers like publishing options, how to write successful query letters, and how to go from your first draft to getting an agent.

It’s a great time of year for me not only because I get to meet great authors and writers but it’s a great way to get inspired in my own writings and learn from the wisdom of others.

Good luck on all your writing goals this November! 🙂

Writer’s Dream

One day… *sigh*

 

 

The First Draft

  After too much time and about fifty recommendations, I’m finally reading the quintessential book for writers, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I’ll probably post more on the book as I read sections I find particularly relevant, but today is all about the first draft. In her book, Lamott writes about how the first draft is always shitty. Even professional, successful writers write bad first drafts. Here’s a quote from her book that I thought summed it up perfectly:

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft – you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft – you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.”

One of the traps I fell into frequently when I first began writing, and which ties into Lamott’s subsequent chapter on Perfectionism, is that I would spend hours writing and rewriting the same five pages until I became so frustrated that I wouldn’t want to make the time to write. It’s not as bad now, but I still find myself getting caught up in my own thoughts before I even sit down at my computer trying to work out every detail. Chasing windmills. Just sit down and type. What you end up with will be bad. If you’re lucky, you’ll even realize it’s bad and begin crafting your second draft before you subject your close friends and family to the horrors of having to read it.

Happy writing! 🙂

 

Why BEA Rocks

  I had the best, best time at BEA this year. For those of you who have gone you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say it’s like a kid in a candy store. Plentiful exhibitors with their shiny ARCs just waiting to be plucked by the likes of bibliophiles like moi. It’s glorious. If you’ve never been you need to make plans to attend when you can.

To entice you a little more, here are my favorite things from the expo this year:

1. Listening to debut YA authors including the highly buzzed about Gennifer Albin and her novel Crewel. Which brings me to…

2. Getting a signed copy of Crewel! Woohoo! (It’s being released this October)

3. Talking to people from all over the U.S. You meet the most interesting people and it’s a great place to network too.

4. Having a Libba Bray moment. I stood in line that stretched across the floor of the Javits Center of people eager to get a signed copy of Bray’s newest book Diviners. Fortunately, I got there way early so I was towards the front of the line and there was a great group of women around me that I chatted with the whole time. When I got to Libba I said, “Thanks for deciding to become a writer.” She stopped signing and took my hand and said, “Thank you.” She probably won’t remember in her whirlwind of fandom, but it was a perfect moment for me. 🙂

5. Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by the great energy of being surrounded by books and writers and publishers and others who are passionate about all things books.

Only thing I was really disappointed about: In chatting with another attendee she mentioned she really loves the books that Bloomsbury puts out. Excited I hurried over to their exhibit and inquired about the getting one of the ARCs they had. The woman at the booth looked at me and said, “Sorry, we only have a few copies of those books left.” Period. No, how about a different book or explanation or anything. In other words, you, our readers, aren’t worthy of these books in my eyes. I am saving them for someone I deem more important. No matter what her reasons for refusing to pass out her remaining ARCs, I didn’t enjoy my interaction with Bloomsbury. Disappointing.

Overall, I had a fabulous time with the good far outweighing that one experience. Hope to see you there next year! 😀

Inspired Writing

  Every day I’m inspired by the world around me. I’ll see the way my bathroom products are haphazardly splayed on my counters and think, This is probably how my character’s bathroom would look too. When I come across a quirky person at work or see the way the dogwood outside is flowering or the way a construction site on my drive home sounds, I’m inspired.

I think seeing the world through a creative lens is my favorite part of being a writer. I feel as though I ingest life on a daily basis, paying close attention to all its eccentricities. And as I write on a regular basis, I’m more in tune to finding those things that would add flavor to my novels. Feelings and smells and tastes are all set aside in my mental database for use at a later date.

Hope you find your inspiration too! 🙂

How to Start Your Story

  Last week at work a woman began talking to me about a book she wants to write, but wasn’t sure how to start. My brother has told me about an idea he has for a novel, but there always seem to be something blocking his path. In talking with other writers I hear of people who have great writing aspirations, but never quite move forward with their goals.

One of the problems that many of these writers seem to face is actually sitting down and starting to write. Between life’s obligations and forming the words, it can be a daunting task! Before I wrote my first novel, I had a hard time moving past the first paragraph.

Here are a few tips that helped me move past my road blocks and hopefully will help you with yours too!

1. Make the time – get up before work/kids/daily obligations or stay up later or make every Saturday morning your writing time then make it a habit!

2. Prioritize – How important is writing your novel? If you want to write it, turn off Being Human and write instead.

3. Figure out who your audience is and what makes your story important to tell

4. Outline your main ideas, then write to fill in the blanks. Don’t worry about having all the answers before you start writing, you’re bound to change some things during your rewrites anyway. 🙂

5. And most importantly – just write!!! If there’s one piece of advice that I’ve read over and over and one that I try to adhere to above all it’s write. The more you write, the better you will get and the more it will become a habit and allow you to reach your goals.

Happy writing! 🙂

To Outline or To Not Outline That is the Question

  I don’t know which side I’m on when it comes to novel outlining. I’ve heard and read compelling arguments for both sides as well as read interviews with authors who go into a novel with an idea, figuring out the pieces as they move forward, or create detailed outlines that help to guide their stories. There are many different ways to outline as well – index cards, brainstorm diagrams, traditional A-B-C outlines, or even a linear chart of events.

In the past I’ve started my novels with general character descriptions and an idea of what I want the story to be about, but no specific sequence of events. It worked well for my second novel, not so much the first. Now that I’m working on my third novel I’m torn between having a plan and just running with an idea. When I first started writing I didn’t have an outline and about 10,000 words later I realized that a lot of action I want to show is part of the back story. That’s no fun! In order to pull my readers into the action and suspense of what’s happening in the novel I need to rewind and start telling the story at a different time. Could this have been avoided by writing an outline beforehand? Maybe. It’s really hard to tell what ideas could have been planned and what comes about just as a natural part of the writing process. If there’s one thing that writers are in agreement on it’s that it’s very rare to get your story right the first time around. Rewrites are just as integral as the first draft, if not more so!

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I want to have a better idea of the main sequence of events that I want to happen in my novel, I also need to trust the writing process. After all the practice of writing helps to make one a better writer so if I’m hung up on following an outline, or deliberating whether to write on or not, and I’m not actually doing any writing that’s counter-productive too.

Outline or not, have a great week of writing! 🙂

2012 Writing Resolutions

  A new year means new goals for many people. This morning I ran a 5k called the Resolution Run because for me it’s sets a perfect tone for the new year. Well, that and you get a kick butt hooded sweatshirt each year. 🙂

Part of the race packet given out to all entrants is a list of people’s resolutions for the new year. As I read through them I noticed that many revolve around the common goal of weight loss. Run more, eat better, stay healthy, feel great. Some were more personal – find someone to love, spend more time with my family, get out of debt. And some were funny. My favorite was “My 2012 Resolution: 2450 x 1080 pixels.” 😀

Personally, I like to make resolutions throughout the year just because I’m more likely to keep a resolution if I say I’m going to make a change and then implement it immediately rather than waiting for a new year. But I do make goals for things I’d like to accomplish for the upcoming year. My big goals for this year? Finish writing my next YA novel. Find a agent. Keep working toward getting published.

I’m working toward this goal already by: 1. Making time to write (and making more time!!)  2. Building my social networking platform 3. Reading great articles about writing 4. Reading, reading, reading 5. Finding a great writing group to help critique my work.

What are your writing goals or goals in general for the new year?

Happy 2012!!! 😀