Villa in Tuscany

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The End

This is it, the last day of our BIAW. Post your totals and share your progress.

Mine wasn't nearly as much as I'd like, but I did finish a chapter and started a new WIP. It was more writing than I'd done in awhile. I only did about 20 pages, but it was real progress.

I'd like to host another BIAW in March, but I don't think I will be able to. It is going to be a busy month and I'm not sure I will get anytime to write, including blogging.

April will be a good month. The blooming of the flowers, the promise of Spring, it should provide us with plenty of inspiration to write.

Thank you for participating.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lucky Shoes

Author Rebecca Forster's advice is to get yourself a pair of lucky shoes. She said this once in a presentation I saw her give at a chapter meeting and she told me again when I talked to her at a book signing.

Shoes are wonderful things. They don't care if we are 20lbs. overweight or having a bad hair day. A cute pair of shoes looks cute no matter what. They make you feel good. And that is how writing should make you feel. Oh sure, we have those moments when writing becomes difficult, particularly as we advance in our careers and writing becomes more than a dream. Even the cutest shoes give blisters. But we should be able to look down at our feet and admire them in their lucky shoes and we should feel the same way about our book.

I wrote the sequel to a book that was out in submissions. I knew it wasn't the wise thing but I couldn't help it. The story burst forth and I wrote in in a couple of months. The first book wasn't picked up by any agent ergo the sequel isn't going anywhere either. But it doesn't matter. I love the story and will pull it up to read it just for the pure enjoyment of it. Its like that cute pair of shoes you know you don't need or have anything to wear with, but they give you pleasure just looking at them. This book does the same thing for me.

So get yourself some lucky shoes. Not at Wal Mart or Payless, but at a nice store (the shoes pictured are the ones I'm going to buy at Nordstroms). There is no reason for them except they give you pleasure in some way. And when you look at them, remember why you write. For the joy of it.

My page count yesterday was miserable. Not surprising considering it was Valentine's Day. I wrote 5 pages today. This brings me to 50 pages for my current WIP and the end of the 3rd chapter...enough for a proposal. So tomorrow I'm going to move onto something different. I feel like exploring. I have a historical and another dark fantasy in mind, so I might try those tomorrow.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Brick Wall

Yesterday was not a good writing day. I only did 3 pages. I felt like I was hitting a brick wall. I'm not sure why, in the bright light of morning, it looks fine, but yesterday, my mind couldn't go any further.

Brick walls are nothing new in writing, we hit them all the time. How do you deal with it? Do you get out your climbing gear and find a way over it or do you punch through? Do you find the wall so impenetrable that you abandon it altogether? I've been guilty of that one before.

Sometimes the brick wall has nothing to do with the WIP but something else entirely. Had those moments when there seems to be a brick wall sitting on your keyboard?

What sorts of strategies do you employ to get passed this obstacle?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

James Bond Says Get Your Pages Done

Sorry, I wrote this post last night and my computer froze before I could post it. Darn computer.

I got six pages done. Once I sat down and started writing, I had little trouble getting the pages to flow. But getting my butt into the chair was tough. So I made promises to myself. If I got my pages done, I could read, surf the web, clean my pantry, play a video game, etc. I needed the proverbial carrot on the stick.

Do you ever need to see a reward at the end or is the writing enough? And is Daniel Craig staring at you with his shirt off pretty good inspiration? It inspires me, that's for sure.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Romancing your Romance: BIAW Begins!

Is your WIP clamoring for attention? Do you remember your hero or heroine's name? Are there cobwebs on your keyboard?

If so, its time to blow off the dust on your creativity and get down to business. To celebrate Valentine's Day, we are going to share some lovin' with our writing. For one week, we are going to put some extra focus on our WIP and see why we fell in love with writing in the first place.

If anyone has done NaNoWriMo, then you have some idea how this works. In a Book In A Week, we are going to spend a week putting our writing at a priority. We are going to crank out as many words as we can for the next week.

Today, think long and hard about what you want to accomplish. What kind of word count do you think is reasonable? I always aim low, that way I feel even better if I go over. Post what your goal is and everyday check in with what you've done or if you are having a problem. I'll post everyday with something to inspire you or something like that.

And no, you don't have to be working on a romance to join in, I just liked the title. My WIP isn't a romance per se, so there you go.

This may mean you are going to have to skip a "CSI" or record "American Idol," but it is only for one week and your WIP will be grateful.

I'm going to start:

My Goal is five pages a day. I'll be working on "Fianna Unleashed," the sequel to my book out with editors.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Hero's Journey

This is an article I wrote for my RWA chapter newsletter and I thought I would share here.

Stories have beginnings, middles and ends. A story progresses through a series of scenes to achieve those elements. Pretty simple, particularly if you write genre fiction. But I have found writers losing their way, adding extraneous elements to their story that makes it confusing, diminishing the value of the story.

One problem a writer faces is the bombardment of rules, exercises, etc. which tell them what they can and can’t write. Is your GMC in place? Watch those POV’s. You have too many characters. You don’t have enough characters. The list is endless. These are guidelines pure and simple but it seems as if we writers have internalized them as law.

Hence I’m talking about another one. Oh great, just we need. However, it is as old as stories themselves. Its relevant, there are stories which have existed thousands of years and we are still reading them and watching them as film.

The Hero’s Journey was made famous by Joseph Campbell in his Hero with a Thousand Faces. He points out the common thread of literature as it reflects with human experience, pointing out the elements of a person’s journey and how it is personified in literature.

I’m not going to go into the deep details since most of us have probably either learned or taught about heroes, archetypes, fatal flaws, etc. in high school English. But what I want to point out is how the basics of the hero’s journey can work for a writer.

The basic tenet of the hero’s journey is change. Whether your story is full of high adventure or pure romance, the hero or heroine must follow a journey and change. Along this journey the confront foes and allies, some real, some within their own psyche. Below are the basic elements of the hero’s journey:

1. Ordinary World – Limited Awareness
2. Call to Adventure – Increased Awareness
3. Refusal of the Call – Reluctance to Change
4. Meeting the Mentor – Overcoming Reluctance
5. Crossing the First Threshold – Committing to Change
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies – Experimenting with First Change
7. Approach the Inmost Cave – Preparing for Big Change
8. Ordeal – Attempting Big Change
9. Reward – Consequence of the Attempt
10. Road Back – Rededication to Change
11. Resurrection – Final Attempt at Big Change
12. Return with the Elixir – Final Mastery of the Problem

Within these steps are further breakdowns which discuss archetypes found in these journeys. I’m not going to go there for the purposes of this article. It isn’t necessary for this topic since it defeats the beauty of the hero’s journey.

The hero’s journey is simple. As you can see there are only twelve points to keep in mind and there is no rule that says you have to incorporate all of them. Rather, for writing, it works as a nice skeleton for a story. It allows the writer to incorporate other methods of plot development and the like.

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler incorporates these steps in a more practical manner for the contemporary writer. Although his book is geared more towards screenplays, his demonstrations of the elements of the journey help clarify the various points, giving further detail to the archetypes commonly seen.

Chances are you already incorporate much of the hero’s journey into your writing already. Some of the names have changed but they are basically the same. Black moments for Ordeals for example.

The hero’s journey basically provides a roadmap for a story. How much detail you want to take from it is up to you. It gives you a beginning, a middle and an end. What you use to achieve those elements depends on what you are comfortable with. So if you are stuck with a story and don’t not sure where to go, perhaps reviewing the hero’s journey might give you ideas, work you through a rough spot.