Friday, September 26, 2014

September Update; 20k In the Bag!

Okay, folks!

 Here's my 20k notice for the month of September.
 Yes! I did it.

   I was able to start out fairly strong in the beginning of the month, and so I built up a lot of my word count before we hit the middle. This allowed me to be able to get the tail ends of my goal wrapped up before the complete end of the month was here, so I'm gald to report I'm done for my September writing goal!

   I did not finish Prince of Demarken, again. I had hoped to, but... I DID get some really key scenes in, ones that had been getting me stuck for a while now, so we are making progress. 

   So I ended up letting it soak a bit while I worked on other things; mainly Twelve Dark Knights and The Beaded Slipper.  Yes, those are the two chronologically-first spin off novels, so it was decided that working on them would be a good relief, (but still in the same world and therefore self-informative) for Prince of Demarken.

 We've got some good times ahead with Twelve Dark Knights, let me tell you! :-) The set-up is just riff with fire-crackers and ready to blow in a million different ways! Wink Going to be lots of fun in there!!!

  Now that my goal is finished, I'm hoping to keep wrangling with the last stubborn scenes in Pricne of Demarken, and get them ironed out. I've let them "soak" long enough, I have a hunch they'll relent under pressure.

  And of course, October is the month before NaNoWriMo, and I can't afford to be strangling the last drops of inspiration out of my brain in the dwindling light of October's end.
 No, NO!!! That would be something worhty of a horror story!
 I must have a fresh batch of creativity to tackle the long haul of 50k in November.... so that means I really need to have my alotted 20k for October done up very early in the month.
 So I'm going to get working on it this month, in the week that we still have left.

 The goal is to have 20k new words for every month, and if they're written early... WHO CARES? Wink Certainly not I!!!

 So, there are my plans for the next three months.

 What do you think of them? Sound doable to you?
   Do you have any big projects you're tackling? Have you planned it out? Wink

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Are You As Mixed Up As I Often Make People?

 Everybody who is anybody probably already knows all about the Extrovert/Introvert dilemma and the various tangents different people can go off on.

 I've always considered myself an introvert... but people who meet me shake their heads in disbelief and practically call me a liar when I share this small fact.

   I understand what makes them respond this way, but the fact is: I've put a lot of hard work into my "out-going personality" and friendly smile.
    I enjoy people, I really do, and I love to have deep and meaningful conversations with old friends and new ones alike.
 But I've always felt no one really understood me... including, sometimes, a sneaky feeling that neither did I.

  So I was very intrigued when I learned about the alternative category of Ambiverts.... this was decidedly me.
 And now I've run across a blog post on the Introversion Effect that basically sums me up!

19 Struggles Of Having An Outgoing Personality But Actually Being Introverted

So, what say you all? Do resonate any of these "struggles"?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Writer Interview: Jo M. Coleman!

Joining us for today's Writer Interview, we've got Jo M. Coleman, from Southeastern Arizona!

  Thanks so much for joining us, Jo! We're so glad to have you here this time, and we hope to get you back for a reader interview sometime later. Tell us a little about yourself and what you've written.

Jo M. Coleman: Hey! I'm so glad to be here, and it is honestly my first time doing an interview like this, so that's pretty exciting! Anyways, I grew up in Arizona with lots (and lots and lots) of siblings, and tried to write my first book at 10 years old. It didn't get more than 2 pages, but it was fun drawing up fan art for it. At 14 I really got serious and wrote a book that was a WIP up until I was 17, when I finished it. I have written 2 more novels since then, so 3 in all, two of them are fantasy novels and the other is a Christian Western. I'm currently working on my fourth novel making good use of NanoWrimo 2012! :D

E: How about this for a quick writing challenge. Using a few sentences, how would you paint a description of the setting/your world, (either where you are or where you grew up,) as if you were setting the scene for a book about you?

J: It's that moment when you step outside and the sky stretches so far and blue above you, the sun wrapping you in its warmth. The green is more of a brown, but the air hums with the comforting buzz of june bugs. Clouds dance across the sky in a symphony of pure white beauty, almost as though you could run through them. This is home.
E: Great description, Jo! Sounds like a great place to be.
   So, let's get started. What's your favorite genre/genres, and what do you think really draws you to that/them the most?

J: I absolutely love fantasy. I have read many different genres and I like books from each of them, but overall, I just really love fantasy, especially young adult fantasy. I think what I like about it is that it is pure creativity... creating an entire world/laws/people groups/creatures that don't exist in our world! I love the “royal culture” as well as the idea of virgin land stretching as far as imaginable, forests, plains, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and hills. Untouched land just waiting for me to revel in its beauty. Plus, I just really, really love dragons and unicorns. :-D And the thought that I could own a White Siberian Tiger.
E: Ooo... I like your description. I think we're on the same page there! Myself, I'd take a regular, orangey tiger. I just love that color!
  What's your most favorite writing related advice?

J: “Write the book that you want to read.” I don't remember where I first heard it, but I have taken it to heart ever since. It is great fodder for ideas and keeping me going in the middle of a work in progress. What is it that I want to read? What book have I wanted to read but have never found one quite like it? Write it myself! I think that's one of the best ways to maintain writerly inspiration (which, like middle school crushes, can be so fickle!), and come up with great ideas and characters! What do I want to read in a book? What character do I wish I'd read before? That is one of the main reasons I did my rewrite of “Beauty and the Beast”, because I'd always wanted to see it done from the Beast's point of view (and there may be some out there, though I haven't read any), so I figured... why not do it myself?
E:  Great advice! And I like how you've really taken it to heart and gotten a great writing attitude out of it. And, yes, that writerly inspiration can be so vanishing when you need it most!

 What is your favorite type of character to write? Why do you think that especially appeals to you?

J: Hmm... I have written quite a few strong women characters, so I think that definitely appeals to me. A woman who will do what needs to be done, but is not afraid to be vulnerable at the end of the day. A woman who fights fiercely, loves devotedly, and dreams big. I guess the reason that particular type of character appeals to me is that I see it as sort of a “larger than life” version of myself – the woman I would hope to be if I were to encounter the situations my characters do. I also like to write a character who, in the face of the right (hard) choice or the wrong (easy) choice, will choose the right! So characters with character! I do also like to write a bad guy that the reader (and I!) really really want to see beaten in the end. Although I do like to make my antagonists sympathetic in some way, they generally are also so far deep in evil that despite feeling sorry for them, you also just want to see them pay for their crimes.
E: Where do you like to get your characters? Do you like to draw off of people you know, other books, or just pull them put of the blue?

J: It's a mash-up. I do like to give every main character of mine an interest that I share with them, because it's one level that I can really add realism to. So, I would make them an artist, or give them a love for reading, or have them be a seamstress. Other elements may be taken from people that I know, or myself, such as that person who's always making silly jokes that nobody laughs at, or the way you just laugh and laugh with someone, or how someone always inadvertently knows how to make every situation completely awkward. 
E: Some writers talk about their characters getting out of control and things happening that they didn't intended to happen; have you ever had this happen?

J: Actually, I don't think I can honestly say this has happened to me! It kinda makes me feel somewhat abnormal... but my characters generally will do what I've set for them to do. I am something of a pantster though, so often the plot will end up going down some random deviation of a rabbit trail and my characters will skip along with it. But I see that as more of a plot deviation leading to character deviation, not really the other way around.
E: How do you write, is it 'start with page one, scene one' and go through it in order; or just "whatever scene pops into your head"
(and that might mean that you have the entire middle of your book written before you even start on the beginning)?

J: A general overview is always in place in my mind before I begin writing, and usually the ending is pretty clear as well. Once I actually begin writing it down, it is completely written in the order it will be read (though I may switch some things around once it is all written down). Unless there is a particular scene in which I have something very specific in mind (such as a piece of dialogue, a section of prose, or the like), and I have to write it down ASAP or else I will forget it. But generally it is written from Chapter One in order through till “The End”.
E: How do you plan your stories' "bones", or do you?

J: I will “Pants” the first draft, just hacking it out however it comes. Then I will sit down for as long as it takes (weeks to months) and write down a solid outline (a friend of mine has written a FANTASTIC book about outlining), then I will begin the rewrite. But I will still end up “pantsing” on some parts even with the solid outline.
E: Have you tried any plotting, outlining, methods; and what works best to your way of thinking?

J: I outline in a notepad with a black pen (Pentel R.S.V.P.). My first draft I will type up (generally during Nanowrimo), then I will write out my outline in a notepad as well as the second draft once the outline is done. After that, I will type up the third draft, print it out and read through to edit. I only just started outlining in January of 2012, and found it was very helpful with my third novel, so that is going to become a solid part of my writing process.

E: What is your worst writing trouble?

J: Finishing what I've started. I really, really hate going back through and editing, so it's been a struggle for me to get that work done! The initial drafts aren't so difficult (I like to start with a blank slate each time I go to write a new draft, just using the previous one as a springboard), but once I have a solid draft and just need to go through with more specific edits rather than total overhaul, it seems really overwhelming to me.
E: What is your worst writing fault? How do you identify and rectify its effects?

J: Procrastination, also named Facebook. :-P I looooove to procrastinate, though not just with writing but just in general. It's a fault in general for sure. I have to set a specific day and time that I will sit down and GET SOME WRITING DONE, and then I have an easier time doing it. Also with writing, I tend to repeat the same words/phrases a lot, I definitely have to keep a regular sharp eye out for that, as it can get very mundane as a reader to be reading the same things over and over.
E: Hey! It's been great having you here! We've so enjoyed learning more about another writer's mental workings! Thanks for participating.

J: Thank you for having me! It's been fun and I'm looking forward to seeing what other writers have to say as well. :-)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monthly 20k, and August Update!

 Hey there!!!
    Yes, we made it through August!
 August to me is one of those difficult months... it's too hot to enjoy summer any more, but we're still not ready to acknowledge that it's almost fall. It's like something inside is screaming "I wanna go back to May!!!"

   Which isn't possible... so, everything just slides into a long, sticky string of events, like molasses. Black strap molasses, in fact.  Wink

 But by the time we reach Semptember everything is better. The temps are cooler, the weather more gorgeous, the harvest is coming in and from time to time you can almost catch the smell of fall in the air. And that's okay, in fact, by this time, we're looking forward to fall.
 Hey, by mid-canning-season: we're even looking forward to winter!!!

  So, the big question is: Did I make my 20k goal for August? 

    After the creativity draining Camp NaNo in July, where I over shot my original 20k goal to produce 32k.

          ...Let me tell you, August did not start out with a thunderclap of writing frenzy.

 In fact, August didn't start out with any writing at all.

 My batteries had to seriously recharge.
 And then some Real Life stresses stepped in and messed things up in their own sweet way, and then it was the middle of the month and I had hardly written anything at all.

 So of course, there was mild panic, because I don't want to break my "20k monthly goal" success
streak! Ever since January '14!
 This is the 8th consecutive month that I've produce 20k words in.

 And yes.... I did get them produced. Wink

  It was tough, but I finished the final 2k needed on the next to the last day of the month, and then I just called it quits.
    I seriously need to recharge my batteries!!! Wink

  Progress So Far This Year

     So, on the flip side, I do want to take a minute and publicly consider what this commitment to "Monthly 20k" has resulted in.
   August was the 8th month!!! Can you believe it???  (I can't hardly! Wink)

    Here's the math:   8 x 20 = 160

      That means that I have written a minimum of 160 thousand words, so far.

 A minimum! 

  That is 3 novel's worth. .... Or 6-to-8-ish novellas... or... 

    Well, actually, it's two 30k novellas, one 90k novel, and I've got the follow-up novel at about 50k, with a couple of thousands tossed into roughly three of the later in the series. 
  (Yep, all new since January '14!!! Yes, I am kind of freaking out. It seems I've finally closed in on the secret to letting the stories out of my head in a smoother stream!)

  Since I have overshot 20k on more months than not, the total word-count is at least 200 thousand new words.

  That is... to me... pretty amazing. I wouldn't have thought it possible even just a few years ago, and now...? It's still pretty amazing.

 But, having the flexible-timed, large-monthly goal has helped me keep motivated without getting discouraged.

       Discouraged is a horrible place for creativity.

       And learning how to refine the quality of my writing time has hugely affected the words-per-hour.... since I no longer sit at the computer beating myself up for not having a clue what should happen in this scene.

 And having a truly gripping set of plot-lines has inspired a much better conversion rate of time-in-chair. Wink
   So, thanks to expert, knowledgeable, professional folks like Rachel Aaron, Dean Wesley Smith, and Hugh Howey for publicly sharing their hard-won perspectives on the realities of being a writer... and particularly, an indie writer.
   You have each inspired me!

   (And if you don't know them yet, I heartily recommend checking them out! As writers, they are truly great role models to watch, and learn from!)

  Future Progress

  Also, in August, to get me through to the goal, my first reader and I did a lot of plot brainstorming. We now have the next four-to-five novels lightly sketched out, and the possible spinoffs nailed down enough so that their possibilities will not be impeding forward motion on any of the next up books.
   This is huge!!!

 And I'm so grateful to have a sister like that who can bring clarity to the muddle of my inspirations! Wink

    (Also, I do intend to make a post about my/our plotting process to share! ...Soon... ish... Wink)

  So... that was my August. How was yours? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blast from the Past: Why I write.

Click here to Pin!
   I was searching for something the other day in my various stacks of repositories, and came across a paper with this written on it.
   I remember writing this... but I can't remember exactly when. I think it may have been as far back as eight/ten years ago... or maybe not that many, I can't place it for sure.
 Anyway, here it does:

"Why do I write?

 Why do you dream?

 When I write, life recedes a distance and I am on a different level... where the temperature drops on the mist of my thoughts, condensing then into drops of words.

  Then, like dew on a spiderweb... stringing into sentences and paragraphs. Images and feelings, swirling and fading, in and out.
 I wanted to write because I loved reading so much as a youngster. I wanted to contribute something good back... and that's never changed.

 When I emerge I am refreshed; renewed.

 Day-to-day returns and I can face it with a cleared perspective.

 ...I have learned something from myself."

  What do you think about that?

       Why do you write? Hm???