Monday, July 30, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday -- I Wish

I'm sitting here on Monday and I have absolutely nothing to say. "So why post?" you might ask. Ahh...good question. I'm trying to practice writing through these dry spells. Oh sure, what's in it for you, the poor reader who has to sit through my nonsensical rambling about only God knows what? charming company? Or sadly, you might not notice a difference. *sigh* But since this hasn't degenerated as of yet into "Another Whiny Author", I'm going to try to keep it on the positive side. Oh, sure, it's been almost an entire week since I've written, not that I'm counting mind you. So what's a writer to do when inspiration has apparently left the building?.........You didn't really think I'd have the answer to that did you? I tried watching A Haunting on the Discovery Channel but all that did was scare the hell out of me (why, oh, why does no one on that show ever leave the lights on?!). I tried talking to my little kitten, but all he did was yawn and go to sleep. Apparently the angst of the modern day writer are of little interest to him. What a snob. And of course, I read all my usual writing blogs, but all those articulate and relevant postings did was depress me. Oh, hell. I went degenerated to Whiny after all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Me....Writing Shakespeare?

I have much to report after a long, Harry Potter-induced haze of a weekend. I saw the new movie on Saturday and then read the new book for a minimum of six hours straight on Sunday. I've also unfortunately taken to calling my best friend and kitten Hermione and Ron respectively. My car will also hereafter be dubbed Kreacher (it has both the dirt and the attitude). I'm not going to post a review as it has already been done by multitudes of other bloggers and probably a lot more eloquently than I. But I will say this: It was awesome. Now on to more important news. I have finally named my book! Granted, this will probably change should by the Grace of God I ever be published, but until then I can now refer to it as something else besides the ever imaginative title of "My Book". I'm calling it Much Ado About Monsters, that's MAAM to you and me from now on. Of course, the abbreviation is just icing. I can only hope Shakespeare will forgive me. My second bit of good news is I'm actually almost finished with Chapter One! If that doesn't call for an exclamation point, I don't know what does!! So there!! Hopefully Chapter Two will flow much easier but even if it doesn't, at least now I have an extremely heavy Harry Potter book to fling at my computer.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Don't Know Who's Bringing SexyBack, But It Ain't Me

Okay...I'm going to admit something here. It's not pretty and it might even be a little pathetic but here goes: ::takes deep breath and clears throat:: "Hello, my name is Another Aspiring Author and I love Justin Timberlake." There, I said it. Judge me if you must. Of course, I'm probably too old to enjoy his music so much, but I can't seem to help myself. I absolutely love his new CD. It's the best collection of dance music I've heard in a long time (aside from Thriller of course). And you know the main reason I'm so enraptured by it? Because I have absolutely no rhythm at all. Can't dance to save my life. Oh sure, I do a pretty good head bob. Unfortunately, the rest of my body gets all confused and I end up looking like a drunken marionette. But when I listen to Justin's CD I feel like I could dance if I really wanted to. The music pulses through me right down to my toes and I forget for a little while how uncoordinated I really am. I think a good book should have the same effect on its reader. The story should take you outside of yourself so you forget your own shortcomings and insecurities. You become the hero/heroine as they do things you'd never imagine you could do yourself but maybe for a moment suddenly feel might be possible. Of course knowing the characters have the same self-doubts as we have also helps draw us in even more. It's a balancing act between the reader's reality and their dreams. I hope I can incorporate this into my own book. Now if only I could learn the Funky Chicken.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Slow But Not So Sure

I've been piecing at my book over the last few weeks and have finally gotten up to the whopping page of 11. I'd be ashamed if I wasn't so disgusted with myself. And it's not like I haven't had time to write. Oh sure, there were lots of blog posts to read, Alchemy scores to beat, and Lindsay Lohan headlines to sneer at, but other than that plenty of time to really get into the rhythm of my book. Except I haven't. I've been concentrating on everything (and by that I mean nothing important) but my story. And it's not because I'm not excited about it. I'm excited right up until the point I actually sit down to write. Then suddenly all the wonderful words that sounded so great in my head scatter to the four winds (okay, I don't actually know that there are four winds, but it sounds poetic). What am I doing wrong? Wait. Don't answer that. I'm not sure I want to know. Let me just wallow in a blanket of self-pity and doubt for a few minutes. ::indefinite amount of time goes by with much wailing and pulling of hair:: Well. That was certainly fun. Okay, I can get over this. Writing is 50% perseverance (this statistic brought to you courtesy of the voices in my head) after all, so technically I'm halfway there, right? Just nod your head comfortingly and back away slowly from the blog. It ain't pretty to watch an author cry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Will Work for Chocolate

I saw a link recently to my blog where someone (presumably another hopeful author) had performed a google search trying to find out an author's yearly income in cold, cruel dollars. Unfortunately, they didn't find the answer in my post but it did bring back fond memories of my more naive days when I actually thought all you had to do was sell one book and you'd be golden. Doves would descend from the heavens with bits of chocolate draped in their beaks to bestow upon me while hundred-dollar bills rained down to litter my front yard like annoying leaves. Hey, I didn't say it was smart, just naive. I'm not sure exactly what started this myth. Perhaps the countless Daniel Steele novels turned into Sunday night movies. I know I watched them even if I didn't read her books. Of course that's only one name out of hundreds of authors who are still plugging away at their day jobs and writing on the side. Good authors. Authors who you know will be around for a long time. It could be depressing if you let it, and you know what, sometimes it's okay to indulge. Go ahead. Sigh loudly. Roll your eyes like a teenage girl and say it's not fair. Okay. Got that out of your system? Don't feel bad. We all do it at one time or another. Of course our ultimate goal is to write for a living, but if that's the only reason you're doing it I'd advise you to stop now. You have to write not only because you want to but because you have no other choice. It has to fill something in you that nothing else can. I don't even know if it has a name, but I can feel it every time I sit down with my book. I wouldn't give that up for any amount of money. George Clooney, maybe, but that's another story.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I Can't Believe I Said Critter

Believe it or not, I've been writing quite a bit over the weekend. I took a 14-page synopsis and chopped, slapped, cajoled, and browbeat the angry critter to fit into 11 still too long pages. Only problem is the synopsis wasn't mine. One of my friends, who is a wonderful fantasy writer, is preparing to start the querying process but wanted to get all her ducks in a row before sending anything out. I guess this tells you how new she is if she was asking me for who has only one novel finished (and not even a very pretty one at that) who can't seem to get off page seven of her own new who keeps referring to herself as an annoying pronoun. What really rankles me is how easy this was to do. But of course it would be. After all it wasn't my poor baby being sent out into the cold, cruel world to be ripped open, sneered at, and thrown in a dark corner without even cab fare to get home. But then again, maybe I'm just sensitive.

I've been thinking a lot about critiquing partners lately and how important they can be in the writing process....or at the very least in the querying process. My friend and I traded off chapters from our respective books as we were writing, offering our thoughts for whatever they were worth. Trouble is that though we both enjoyed each other's books, we generally don't read in the particular genre the other writes in. I know good writing is good writing no matter what, but I think familiarity with a given genre certainly helps. She'd never been much of a romance fan (she writes straight fantasy), so I took it as a compliment that she actually enjoyed my story, contemporary romance though it is. I've never read much fantasy aside from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (and let's be honest that had everything to do with Viggo Mortensen), but I thoroughly enjoyed her story as well. And even though I helped her clean up her grammar and make sure her names and descriptions stayed consistent through the book, I feel I've been the most help to her now as she prepares her query letter and synopsis. An extra set of eyes as well as a truly objective opinion are invaluable when it comes to tweaking these things to within an inch of their life. As writers, we're often too close to really do them justice. We'd sooner give up a toe than cut a sentence we know is imperative to the story. But what do you do when they all seem just as important? You find a good friend/writer who isn't afraid to be brutal and get a little ink on their shirt. And you feed them lots of chocolate....lots and lots of Dove's Chocolate Truffles. Hmmmm...I wonder if that was too subtle?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The No Review Book Review

I picked up three new books this past weekend from my most favoritest place ever (hah! take that grammar police), Borders. I have dreams of *ahem* accidentally being locked in there one night (and yes by accidentally, I mean hiding in one of the bathroom stalls until everyone leaves). I bought two mystery books by J.A. Konrath (how can you not love a cop named Jack Daniels?) and another paranormal romance that again I won't name because surprise, surprise it just didn't do it for me. Not to repeat myself (not that I ever would, not that I ever would), the writing was good and the story fast paced, but I had trouble rooting for the heroine. She was funny. She could kick ass. And I just didn't care. Of course, I realize this is an entirely subjective thing. A heroine I might identify with could bore the hell out of someone else and vice versa. But for me, I need to have either sympathy on some level for her or at the very least empathy. I had neither. And this naturally got me thinking about the heroine of my own book (pay no attention to the progress meter on the right.....hey, I told you not to look). What if no one else likes her but me? Of course, I have to like her, otherwise I wouldn't get past writing the first page. But nothing will keep the reader from slamming the book shut if she just doesn't do it for them. I know. I know. I can't really control this. I can only write a character I find enjoyable, interesting, and a whole slew of other adjectives I don't have room for. The key I guess is translating that character I know and love in my head to shining vitality onto the page. Okay, I'll admit it. I just wanted to say "shining vitality". So sue me. You get the point.