Thursday, October 23, 2014
National Novel Writing Month is exactly that - a writing challenge for anyone who wishes to take it up. All you need to do is write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 31st and you win... well, nothing but bragging rights but it's a wonderful way to jumpstart that novel you've been wanting to write. It's an exercise that thousands have joined in over the years and has its own website where you can meet others in your area and be inspired and encouraged to Get It Done.
I've done this challenge and won twice - this year I'll be passing because it doesn't fall into the right time for my writing. I've got one book in edits (Tales from the Edge, book 3!) and waiting to hear on another big project and can't dedicate myself to a whole new book but I do encourage those of you who can to give it a try.
Why? Because it's a great way to teach yourself to get that Butt In Chair and get writing! 50K words is approximately 1613 words a day... ah, but don't get all smug thinking that it's an easy goal to meet! Let me toss some issues out there before you settle down for what you think is going to be an easy run...
First that's SEVEN days a week. No days off for church, work, shopping... did you notice that Thanksgiving is in there? AND Black Friday? Hmm... so you're still going to slam down 1600 words a day while stuffing that turkey or waiting in line for that great sale?
Suddenly that 1600 words seems a bit more daunting, yes?
The worst thing about NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is that there's a major holiday smack dab in the middle of it - and if you don't plan for it this speed bump can send you right off the road and into the bushes no matter how much planning you do to complete your novel.
First - OVERWRITE every day! Don't settle for just 1613 words and walk away from your keyboard feeling smug about it. Write, overwrite, keep writing until you don't have any time left. Don't forget this is a first draft and the important thing is to get the words down on the page - there's no restriction here on good grammar, spelling or anything else other than what you make it. Get ahead of the count so that when you DO have those bad days where you end up spending the entire day working on fixing the oven so you can make that pumpkin pie or waiting at the airport for a late flight or trying to grab that great deal for Black Friday and not end up floundering in your wordcount. Get ahead at the start and you'll be prepared for those stumbles that are going to happen no matter what you do.
Don't fret over the phrasing too much - as I said above, this is a First Draft and IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE LOUSY WRITING. Any author who claims their first draft is ready for market is a wee bit loopy to start with. The important thing about NaNoWriMo is for you to get the words down on the page, not prepare it for submission. It's fine for you to go back over the previous day's work and give it a bit of a polish but don't get obsessed with making it perfect out of the gate - that's what December and all of 2015 is for. Get your fingers on the keyboard and get writing and don't fret too much about the spelling or the grammar. It can all be fixed later on.
The only thing you have to worry about and I've gotten trapped in this, is bad planning. Don't wait until after you start the book to have some idea of where your plot is going or what your ending is. You may not know all the bits and details about what happens but know where your characters are going to end up and what's going to happen at the end of the book. Free range writing is fine on your own but when you're committed to 50K words within a single month you don't have time to have your story wander off track.
Finally, and this is important - on November 1st pat yourself on the back no matter whether you've finished your work or not and walk away for a week or two to recover. You can go back and either finish your book or start editing it later on - give yourself that break to recharge the batteries and get a fresh look at your work.
If you intend to pursue publication you need to get that bit of space to go back to your work with a keen eye toward editing - and don't even think about sending it out to agents and publishers until 2015 and months after finishing (and hopefully winning) NaNoWriMo. Your work needs to breathe and you need to refresh your mind and body before beginning the next stage of editing and rewriting to prepare it for submission. Please give yourself that break to recharge your writing batteries and you'll find your work benefits from it.
Me? I've sold two NaNoWriMo books. Blood of the Pride and Blaze of Glory were NaNo novels that I sold after months of rewriting and editing so yes, it can be done. But even if you never sell your book NaNoWriMo is an excellent mental exercise to get your writing skills honed and test your endurance and organizational skills. If you're serious about writing I encourage you to consider this great way to join a huge writing community and have a good time doing it!
And plan for that turkey coma!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
What I do know--the cover of Starlight Cowboy is gorgeous.
I also know that it has two of my very favorite characters. Here's a little bit about them.
From the storybook of the stars.
A groundbreaking mission to the moons of Jupiter should have been Annalina's big ticket for advancement, but instead of captaining her own ship, she's second fiddle to Shields Albright.
Playboy, adventurer, immature.
Shields has been called it all, but really, he just wants to fly and hasn’t spent a lot of time on his social skills. Mutual attraction grows as the walls of the space ship close in, and they come to an arrangement that satisfies them both, while allowing them professional distance. The distance doesn’t last, not as they grow to understand themselves…and each other as someone who just fits.
Not all is as it should be among the stars.
Their ship is attacked, and the moons of Jupiter are not exactly untouched when they finally arrive. The little world they’ve built high above terra firma is about to smack down in the middle of a dangerous, maybe even deadly, reality. If Shields didn't attract trouble like fireflies on a bug zapper, the two might have an actual shot at true love.
See what I mean? They are so fantastic and I just love them.
You can fall in love with them too. Starlight Cowboy is available now!
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/starlight-cowboy-stephanie-beck/1120427083?ean=2940150348004
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
About a year ago, I received some bad news. I took it badly.
I broke down, just about completely.
Since then I've mostly been mailing it in. Going through the motions, hoping no one notices.
Except here. Veronica poked me every time it was time for my post here, gave me ideas about what to write, and generally kept me from sinking into my self-imposed hole.
Over the past year, I've written more here than every place else combined.
I'm finally coming back out of that long slump, and the one of the few reasons I'm still in any shape to write are the monthly posts I've put up here.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
|Vodun dancer costume.|
|My picture of a Vodun statue along|
the Long Walk in Ouidah, Benin.
|My picture of two Carnaval performers in|
Candomble inspired costumes. Recife, Brazil.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Still in shock, frankly.
Especially since the first book, The Mark of the Tala, received their Seal of Excellence earlier this year for a compelling book that pushes genre boundaries. It's a neurotic writer thing, but when great things like that happen, we always figure the next book will fail to measure up. Alas.
The question of genre has long interested me, not only because my books "push genre boundaries" - a nice way of saying people are sometimes unsure how to categorize them- but because genre categories have such a profound influence on writers, readers, booksellers, librarians and so on.
Quite remarkable for what is essentially a false construct.
Something ably demonstrated by the movie Cloud Atlas. I finally got around to streaming this movie the other night and found it utterly brilliant. It's a complex movie requiring close attention, that tells six interweaving stories from different time periods. The spoiler-filled full synopsis is here. The shorter, vaguer one is:
Everything is connected: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his lover; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.
What's fascinating is to break these six stories into genre categories. I checked the genre classifications for the movies each story thread most reminded me of. They'd come out as:
1. an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific - Action, Adventure
2. letters from a composer to his lover - Historical, Romance
3. thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant - Thriller, Mystery
4. a farce about a publisher in a nursing home - Comedy, Drama
5. a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea - Science Fiction, Action
6. the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future - Post-Apocalyptic, Adventure
So what genre is this movie? Well, they settled on the very neutral "Drama" and threw in a "Science Fiction" secondary genre. Likely as a warning. The book is categorized on Amazon as Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction and Fantasy. Quite the hodgepodge.
Of course, not every story is this complex or difficult to define. However, I think it provides an interesting case study that shows genre really is a semi-arbitrary classification system. I'm particularly fascinated that the genre drifted so much from book to movie.
Any other examples you can think of where that's happened?
Monday, October 13, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Jane Kindred is the author of epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and the forthcoming Looking Glass Gods. Born in Billings, Montana, she spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
|Twin, frightful (or funny) ghosts|
- Every. Single. Time. I pull a plastic fork from the box, and the tongs scrape against each other, I begin to question if I really need to finish the work I'm doing because I’m obviously asleep and it’s only moments before I’m pretty darn sure that Freddy Krueger is making his way into my office to begin his reign of terror and I frantically start plotting for potential methods to evade him or…
- While driving through a dense fog today, I emerge only to become confused on a familiar route. I'm fairly certain I may have passed through a parallel universe. Maybe it wasn't even the same year? Or I'm in a different world all together...and if so, perhaps chocolate was now calorie free...
Okay, I may have digressed and I don’t want to frighten you too much…
Then when television began to embrace the paranormal with shows like The X-Files, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Millineum and Charmed, they drew me in like no other. (I must admit, I might've wrote my novella, That Magic Moment, when I may, or may not, have been watching a marathon of the television show Charmed and there is the slightest possibility that I may, or may not, have played the theme song repeatedly. (Come'on...It's a good song and a great intro!)
- Our very own Sophia Kimble's month long contest
- Love Romance and More's Fall Cover Up
- All Romance Monster Giveaway
|Can love cross the boundaries mortals have erected to reject all that cannot be explained?|