Tick Tock – NaNo O’clock!


I thought this bit of nano advice was  intersting and could really help  novices and seasoned alike.  In order to  put this method into practice though I will have to expand my index cards from 13 to 30.  Therefore I am off, and I leave you in the hands of my guest – Lazette Gifford!

 

Welcome to the madness.

In my part of the world, November used to be a quiet month known for holidays, family and the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere.  That’s no longer true for a lot of people.  Some people have been preparing for months and still aren’t ready for the fated 12:01 AM on November 1, 2014; the closer we get to that time, the more crazy they (okay, we) become.  The shoppers of Black Friday have nothing on the rush of writers to their computers, tablets or paper as NaNo begins.

I am about to enter my fourteenth run at the November NaNoWriMo fun.  What makes a person leap into this insanity for so many years in a row?  It’s fun. No really, it is.  Once you get over the idea that there is a ‘fail’ component, then you can join in without the unnecessary angst.  There is absolutely nothing like the joy of knowing you are taking part in an intellectual marathon, and that there are thousands of others, all around the world, are leaping into the creative chaos with you.

But what if you don’t reach 50K?

If you reached a word count higher than you would normally get, then good for you — you win.   If you didn’t reach that fabled 50,000 word mark, it is not the end of the world, the end of your writing career or anything else dire and unforgiveable.  Not reaching the goal might mean this kind of ‘fun’ is not the nudge you need, or it might mean you aren’t ready for it this year.  Just remember that these are only words and this is only one month out of the year.

Me?  I’ve reached 50k and more every year, but that’s because I write every day (even outside of NaNo) and I love the creation of stories.  I’m also not afraid to make mistakes in the writing since I know I’ll be editing later.  I’ve done some novels as a panster, some with short outlines and some with every long, complicated outlines.  The trick is to find what works for you and what works for this particular book.  The approach often changes with different novels.  I will say, though, that writing is not easy — not for me or anyone else.  Some aspects may come easier for some people, but in the end, writing is about hard work, editing, facing your creativity and you shortcomings and pushing on through.

During NaNo, there are two things that can help even a pantser.  One is to write down thirty events that happen in your story.  This gives you one subject to write about every day.  These have to be fairly big events in order to get the 1667 words a day you will need.  ‘Jane has a party’ will work while ‘Jane decides to wear the blue dress to the party’ is going to have a far harder time.  There are a lot of possibilities with ‘has a party’ that you can expand on.  Choosing the dress is a much smaller field to work from and might be harder to expand.

Once you get your words for the day, look at your next 30 day entry and try writing out a list of five smaller steps that will happen for the next day’s writing.  If you write 350 words for each of those steps, you’ll easily make your word count.  Some will go over and some under that number of words, but it will give you a little nudge so that you aren’t stuck with the dreaded ‘What happens next?’ problem.  These are kind of like little cue cards to keep you going.

How long it takes you to write those words is going to vary from day-to-day, depending on how much time you have and how ready you are to write.  There are days when I have several hours free and write like a madman — but mostly because it’s fun.  There are other days when I have to fit the words between work and other obligations.  Being freelance and working from home is a bonus because if I am waiting for a work-related email I can sneak a few paragraphs in.  Generally, I do better in long stretches, though.  I love the feel of dropping into a story world and living there for a while.

You must remember one important fact, though:  This is a first draft marathon.  The story will need editing later.  Even if you edit as you go (a bad habit for NaNo), you will still have to go over it at least one more time before you consider submission or publication.  The best thing you can do is plan to put the novel aside for weeks, even months, before you look at it again.  This will allow you to stop seeing what you expect to be there.  You can also try your luck at finding beta readers to go over the work, but the more you learn to do for yourself, the better your first drafts will become.

That work is for the future, though.  In November all you need do is throw yourself into your story and have fun.  Go write the story you want to tell.  You may not get it right the first time, but that doesn’t matter.  We have the joy of first drafts.  Nothing has to be perfect the first time we write it.

Have fun!

 

Author Bio:

Lazette is an avid writer as well as the owner of Forward Motion for Writers (www.fmwriters.com) and the owner/editor of Vision: A Resource for Writers (www.visionforwriters.com).

It’s possible she spends too much time with writers.

And cats.

You can connect with her on:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lazette.gifford

Joyously Prolific Blog: http://zette.blogspot.com/

And if you are interested in the books written in previous NaNo’s and now published, they are on a special page at Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/9817

Lazette NaNo Bookssmall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazette Gifford, Author – www.lazette.net

Editor, Vision: A Resource for Writers – www.visionforwriters.com

Owner, Forward Motion for Writers – www.fmwriters.com

 

Science fiction, fantasy, young adult mystery novels and more!

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/zetteG

 

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The Countdown Begins


feather_pen_311122

NaNoWriMO begins November 1st – that’s only FOUR days away!  EEEK!

I have precisely four days to prepare.  I’ve thought about it, pondered which story to use for nano, recalculated, wrote a pros and cons list, then went to my friends for help.  I NEED TO FOCUS!

Yes, this is a big problem for me.  With 20 stories going on at various points of completion  (most of them are simple notes with a rough outline, or a one line plot.) My friend Misty helped me weed through the idea garden, and select   the juiciest fruit — errrr — story.  I have it narrowed down to 3, so that’s a big improvement.

I  have  twenty pages of handwritten notes, several index cards,  and images of what my characters look like.  All of this goes into Scrivener, before November 1 – When the real writing begins.  All of this,  this is just prewriting.

ON the NaNo board, they give their four phases but I have my own.

1.  Prewriting – the planning, outlining, plotting, surface skimming. This is the rough outline, the skeleton to the  major work of writing.

2. Freewriting – ideally the entire month of nano I will be in this phase. IDeally.  Freewriting is  just letting it flow.  Turning off the inner editor, turning off the  editor features of scrivener, no backspacing to correct typos (OH GOD, I am in trouble already because that idea makes me very nervous.) There are different phases of the freewriting

  • The dash –  blasting out of the starting blocks with enthusiasm,  creative juices flowing, and  no holds barred attitude
  • Lonely backstretch – you know that part of the track, on the backside where there isn’t anyone to cheer you on and you have to push to the  final corner.  This occurs at roughly 17K for me.  I have to guard against distractions.  NO YouTube,  no tv, no Facebook open, no chats anywhere –  my internet turned off. Must. Push. Forward.
  • Rounding the corner – the finish line is in sight, yet still a bit away.  I need encouragement to push through the fatigue, a bit of self talk to keep me going, and boost of adrenaline.
  • Final stretch – The end is in sight, fatigue is setting in.  time for that final push. Body aching, brain protesting, muscles protesting,  editor screaming about all the typos, demanding that I release her, It’s so close but so very far away when every single step from this point on is a race against the clock!
  • NO, I am not melodramatic in the least!

3. Fill in writing – this is hole plugging, plot fixing, patching, expanding, expounding, filling in around the edges,  transitions,  and sensory writing. This part happens in December – if my inner editor stays bound.  Once I release the editor however, her verbal monologue is never good. This is why I have learned to  keep her locked up in a dark room until NaNo is over.

Some people think NaNo is a form of self-inflicted torture.  I disagree. The whole purpose of NaNo is to get people writing.  The first time I did NaNo it was to push myself to establish the daily habit of writing after getting away from it for a while.  The second time,   to see if I could repeat a win. I don’t compete with the others,  it’s enough to compete with my own set of rules!

Last year, I attempted to nano but I knew going in that I already had too many irons in the fire.  This year is  a whole new ballgame,  a chance to get back into my groove and really let go.  I’ve had an ongoing battle with my inner editor, and she’s not allowed  to have any input into NaNo.  NOt until December.

If you are interested in signing up, here’s the page.

NaNoWriMo

On their page are several useful articles to help you prepare for NaNo.  In addition, you can check out these interesting articles:

Reverse NaNoWriMo

The Stages Of National Novel Writing Month

 Always the rebel,  I  have my own plan for NaNo.  There will be 50000 words.  Of that you can be assured.

Write on my friends, write on!

Nano Madness


NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month aka November.

NaNo WriMO is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process. To ensure this, the website provides participants with tips for writer’s block, local places writers participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection. NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality, encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion. NaNoWriMo’s main goal is to encourage creativity worldwide.  The project started in July 1999 with just 21 participants, but by the 2010 event over 200,000 people took part – writing a total of over 2.8 billion words.  This year,  expectations are for 50,ooo participants.

I will be one of those participants. This week will be spent preparing my  outline,  gathering info,  loading my basic info into Scrivener, gathering necessary  materials –  you know, chocolate, notepads,  stickies,  more chocolae,  cherry coke, mountain dew, coffee, more coffee,  subway coupons – the essentials.

Most of November my blog will be dedicated to NaNo,   allowing other Nanoers the opportunity to share with you why we nano.   Today, to kick off the PreNaNo celebration,  I’m going to let Misty share her insights here.

Please welcome my friend Misty Harvey  as my guest today. She’s going to share a little insight to the craziness we are about to undertake.  While she shares I am going to  go work on my outline for my NaNo project. 

Nano Madness

By Misty Harvey

 What is this Nano Madness you speak of? It’s the craziness that happens right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Those of you that don’t know what NaNo even is, I’ll let Ellie explain that half of it to you. (see paragraph above) I was honored when Ellie asked me to come over to her blog and talk about some of the NaNo prep that I do, and how I get through it.

I have heard of those that start prepping for the next year’s NaNo the month after. I’ve also heard of those that wait until midnight on Nov. 1st, no plot in mind, and they just pound out a book. As everyone keeps saying, it’s about what works for you.

This will be my third year participating in NaNo.

Therefore, this is how my NaNo prep madness works. October rolls around, and I argue with myself going back and forth on whether I’m going to participate in NaNo this year or not. November is one of my busiest months; the only one that tops it is December. After I fight with myself for a week, I sign up.

I kid myself that it is a commitment I don’t have to keep. I mean it doesn’t cost a thing to sign up, and nobody cares if I finish anyway. You know, that’s all supposed to relieve the pressure of it off your shoulders. The problem is – I care. I care very much that I make it to that finish line.

Last year was a crummy November for me. If one thing wasn’t going on, another was. I found myself 25k behind with only 3 days to make that finish line. I thought I was a goner for sure, but no. I spent 2 days of that typing as quickly as I could. I buried myself in my work, and guess what? I made it. 25k in two days. I was so proud. I was hurting good, but I had ‘won’.

Now, as I’ve signed myself up for another year of utter chaos with only a few weeks to prep, chaos ensues. First, let me state – I had no idea what book to even write. There was no flicker of a book idea inside my cranium. Oh the madness. I knew first up I needed some form of a plot, or even a flicker – I’d take the flicker.

Time ticked down to fourteen days before the starting gun went off. I was lying around stressing myself out. I needed that idea. Once I quit trying to force it, guess what? Yeah, it came to me like a lightening bolt. After all of that, it became time to sort out plot issues, which meant brainstorming. I jotted down notes all over the place of various things that could happen, scenes I thought up, and types of characters. Nothing was definite yet, but I was working. I felt pumped up. Research ensued. I started to fill out various papers on how to plot your novel, and character worksheets. Oh yeah, I was cruising. (Mind you, I’m not a plotter, not really, I’ll explain. Just hang in there.)

Two days after I began work on all the plotting of characters and worksheets, I quit. I hated the whole concept of the novel, the stupid characters, and the project in its entirety. Yup, I was in the usual process I go through with NaNo. It’s a love-hate relationship with the preparations.

Do you know what I did at that point? Research. If I think I’m failing in some mental comprehension way then I will research plotting, how to write certain genres, how to make stronger character….and I will continue this destructive behavior until I’m moments from taking a lighter to all of my notes, and work.

Once I get over the anger, I mull it all around in my head for another few days. I have that ah ha moment, usually helped along from friends and family. All the puzzle pieces click into place. I’m off and running once again. The plot formulates with minor plots included. I ignore character sheets, because by this point the characters are very real inside of my head. (Is this the correct way to do things? Probably not, but it is what works for me.)

Now that things are on the run, and I am down to less than 10 days (eep), I need a plot to run with. I am convinced at this point that within that plotting procedure is the glorious hidden secret of how to be successful, and succeed at living through November writing 50k words in 30 days. Anyway, I sit my toosh in the chair and start plotting. I fill out index cards with chapters, and outline the chapters on guess what? Yes, more index cards. I tape it all to my living room wall after removing the couch and pictures. I end up mindmapping all over that wall.

Not sure what that looks like? Here is a picture.

MIsty's madness method

MIsty’s madness method

By the time I’m finished we’ve lost space in the living room, but hey that’ll teach my family to not allow me an office.

Once all of the mindmapping is finished, it’s a day or two before NaNo begins. I’ve all ready fallen in love with my novel idea. My mood changed and I hated the entire thing, and wanted it destroyed. All to circle back in love with my novel once again.

November rolls around, and I pull down each chapter piece I’m going to work on, day by day. I’m determined to see NaNo a success. A week comes and goes. Do you know what I find? Yeah, I stopped following the dag blooming plotline I spent twelve hours a day for a week busting my rump on.

Guess what? It doesn’t get any easier either once the month begins. Like Chris Baty and Grant Falkner talked about it the webinar for NaNoWriMo. You have four cycles to make it through the month that line up with the weeks – euphoria – the crash – grim determination – euphoria.

Haha, sounds like great fun to me! Bring on November. It’s time to sort the last bit out, and get it ‘plotted’.

See you all on the flip side of November.

 

Dark Magyk Cover Reveal


Remember how I said I’d been working with an author  on line editing?  Here’s her cover reveal!

Dark Magyk Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Author: Cathy Brockman

Title:   Dark Magick

Series: Possibly

Genre: M/F, Paranormal romance,

Edited by Ellie Mack

Cover Artist: Georgie Ramsey

Formatter: Casey Harvell

Publisher: Cathy Brockman Romances

Release Date: Oct 31

Blurb

Fallon Watkins is having a bad day. A power outage, storms, dead mobile phone – just when you think things can’t get any worse they do. Bad luck crosses her path in the form of a slinky black cat that shifts into a drool worthy sexy man named Sebastian, an inhumanly sexy demon that wants his pet back, and one jealous boyfriend.

As Samhain approaches will Fallon be able to help Sebastian free himself or will she be ensnared in a web of lies?

 

About the author: Cathy Brockman lives in a small town near the river. Lucky enough to be able to retire she now writes full-time  Her stories are based on dreams, hope, love, lots of romance, a little humor and good always wins out over evil.

She also writes stories for children under the name of Cathy Boyd.

Cathy still believes in love, Santa, and the Easter bunny; well at least dragons, unicorns, vampires and fairies. She loves to collect dolls, sew, up-cycle, crochet, garden, cook, and play games on her kindle. She loves to read and write every chance she gets.

She loves making new friends;

Website: 

Twitter: – @cathy_brockman

 Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6427897.Cathy_Brockman 

Amazon Author page:

Facebook (Friend me personal page) 

 

So happy for my friend!  Congratulations Cathy!

Write on my freinds, write on.  Soon you’ll have your own cover reveal party!!

 

Writer’s Block – Or is it?


Quotidiandose does not own this image.  All right sreserved to artist.

Quotidiandose does not own this image. All right reserved to artist.

Every writer worth their salt has had  some dealing with writer’s block in some form or another.  If you are a writer, who is not writing, you tend to  think of yourself in all manner of things mostly bad. Shirker, lazy, undisciplined, a failure, a wanna be, a pretender.

Why do we do that?

Writer’s block is a temporary thing, and is almost always regarded as an undesirable and unpleasant experience. What if we looked at this from a different angle?   What if, — and I know this is going to sound ‘fly in the face of traditional thinking’ –( there I go with that rebel streak again)  a writer’s block is your unconscious mind  telling you that  you need to rethink your story?   What if it’s not a passive state,  not being lazy or undisciplined at all, but rather  an aggressive reaction  to something being not quite right?

“Our unconscious creates while our ego edits.” Carolyn Kizer states.

The  temporary inability to continue writing is nothing more than your unconscious mind vetoing your current plan. Our inner editor  manufactures dozens of reasons why not,  why it’s wrong and  doesn’t always bother to consult with our conscious mind as to why.  While we self sabotage with degrading self talk  (you no good dirty rotten lazy undisciplined worm!  And you call yourself a writer? ) we are  waiting for  our ego/editor and unconscious/ creator selves to duke it out.   It’s never a conscious choice.  Usually some other barrier within our  psyche, dueling internal opposing kingdoms fighting over borders, trying to squeeze a spy into the other camp, or trying to kill the opposition’s spies from getting through.  The block is when  you are trying to establish diplomatic relations between  the tyrannical ruler of the  ego/editor and the temper tantrum fits of the   childlike  creator.

Can’t we all just get along? 

So how do we  re-establish good terms between the two warring parties?  Both are adamantly demanding their own ways while you stare at a blank screen or tap your pen on the paper.

Don’t shout me down because I hit a nerve!  We all do it,  just admit it! 

The answer I believe lies in a part of our psyche  that we seldom want to evaluate.   Self love.  WAIT, don’t  run out on me, hear me out.  This is not being narcissistic and  in love with yourself. If you have that issue,  good luck with that.  That’s not what I am talking about here.

 Self love, the opposite of what we do.  You know that debasing self talk that we resort to when we hit the writers block wall? We need to learn to accept ourselves.  Embrace our idiosyncracies, our  faults, our uniqueness – rejoice in the fact that we aren’t mindless clones or lemmings.  Permission to be ourselves.  Permission to give in to the nerdgasms,  the dork within us,   the  superstar in our dreams even though on the outside we look like the 50 pound weakling in underoos.  Self love baby, realizing our own worth instead of ridiculing ourselves for being different.

Release that inner child that wants to be a superhero, embrace the princes in the tutu that wields the sword!  Once we allow our creative inner self out to play, and not force  him/her into a daily grind or all work and no play the two kingdoms can coexist.  The tyrant king might actually  crack a smile to see the delightful child playing.

Here’s  how it happens for me.  Life gets hectic, work demands climb, leaving no time to write. My brain goes on mandatory overtime burning the candle at both ends with candles linked together in a continuous chain.  Weariness sets in,  the overachiever, performance oriented perfectionist pushes aside the playful creative child and says grow up!  We have work to do! Get with the program, straighten up and fly right!  This is when the inner child rebels.  Oh, she looks like she’s sitting in the corner over there brows furrowed, glaring with the scowl but it’s an illusion because she left and  generated a  holographic image and she’s out flying high above the rooftops.  (WHAT?  You said fly right!)

This is when communication is lost and the tyrannical ruler demands more work.  The child is silent.  The  king sits on the throne demanding  output to no avail.  We have reached a stalemate or in writer’s terms  – the block.  It’s a simple matter really.  You have to allow the child time to play, time to be creative, and give praise so that  he/she will listen to the  king.  Work gets done, the king is less tyrannical,  the child less of a brat, and everyone gets what they want.

Stop telling yourself to  put off your happiness until you reach x destination.  Enjoy right now!

Are you foregoing vacations because work demands never allow you a  rasonable break when to take off?  Are you waiting till you move to the country to get outside  because the city noise is too much?  Are you waiting till your children are grown and gone to do anything for yourself?  My inner child says I want to enjoy my life RIGHT NOW!  I don’t want to wait, don’t want to put it off.  How do you even know you are going to have a tomorrow?  I can’t  go days and days without having some fun,  it literally kills my creativeness.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and  wish I’d lived, wished I’d gone for it when I had the chance. I want to cram as much gusto into the days I have on earth.  I want to get to the end and say – WOW What a ride!

So, anyway that’s my theory on writer’s block, essentially not letting  the inner child have some fun.

Either that or I’m completely off my rocker. Well, I’m having fun with it so who cares.

Hey, if you got a better plan I’m all ears and ready to hear it.  Lay it on me jack!

So go write something and let your inner child play!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Genre Tropes


Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. Al rights reserved to artist.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. Al rights reserved to artist.

I’ve been working  on an editing job  for the past 3 days.  (By the way – check out my editing page; look up there at the tabs and click on Editing Services)  The book is scheduled to be released on the 30th, so we are under a bit of a crunch. This author ran into a dilemma, a problem that seems to plague many  authors.

In the process of  this line edit, the author   found a problem in her story with her  heroine.  I don’t think it’s a problem, but we’ll work something out to get it out on time.  For readers of romance, there are a few standard things that define the genre.

  • Happily Ever After ending; but there are some happy for now stories.
  • Hero/ heroine fall in love, something is keeping them apart, then  they get back together.  but . . . there are some that deviate from this plan.
  • Strong relatable, appealing characters that the reader can connect with.  (The definition for “connect with” is in that grey area )
  • Conflict – in a romance the conflict is most often of the emotional  type, character driven as the two build a relationship.
  • conflict must be believable – really?  Have you never read some of what is marketed in trade paperbacks?  Define believable.  Wait,  let me disconnect my suspension bridge over the valley of disbelief.
  • dialog – your dialog will make or break your books.  Ideally yes, but I’ve read some pretty crappy romance.

Honestly, for as many readers as there are in the romance genre and as many that read nontraditional romances perhaps it’s time to reevaluate these standard tropes.  I personally don’t relate to the damsel in distress tales,  or the  womanizing bad boy who has been with a  hundred women, but decides to settle down with our heroine.  Right –  once a player always a player. (And let’s talk about the reality of an STD – I know,  this is fantasy not real life)  What happens when our heroine puts on fifteen pounds or more after carrying his baby?   What happens if the  unspeakable happens and she loses a limb in a car wreck? or shark attack?

I realize that there are readers of romance that want  the dashing hero to come sweep the heroine off their feet and they live happily ever after.  We don’t want to put too much realism into it because that would be too much like our every day lives.

I personally root for the underdog.  I am an underdog.  My characters tend to be underdogs. I want to write characters that say to  all women that love can happen for them.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  The fantasy of falling in love, the thrill of those rollercoaster emotions without actually having to put yourself out there and risk the heartache.

A small percentage of girls were cheerleaders in high school.  A small percentage were pom-pom girls, or on the dance squad or whatever they call it these days.  Another percentage of girls were athletes, on the volleyball team, basketball, softball,  swimming, gymnastics – whatever sports were offered for girls to participate.   These tend to be the mainstream heroines that are depicted.  What about the rest of us?  What about the average girls, the book nerds, the science geeks?

Not every girl is a bubble headed bimbo.  Not every girl is the perfect size 2.  To be honest in real life I have yet to meet a female that is a size 2 and has C cup boobs that aren’t implants.  Just saying!   With curves usually comes   more body fat, a tendency for wide hips and  derriere.  Those naturally thin Taylor Swift girls  have to buy boobs,  they aren’t part of their natural makeup, yet  we think that every guy wants a size 2 Barbie look-alike with big boobs, tiny waist, and  curvy backside.  Well, we’ve been lied to. Women come in all shapes, sizes, and manner and  many men prefer curves and a woman with a brain.

Why is it then that in a romance novel, the heroine has to fit the paper doll cutout?   How many bad  romances do we have to endure before we meet a woman of substance?  I can’t relate to the perfect girl,  the cheerleader, daddy bought her a dream car,  she got into the perfect school, has perfect hair and never even burps.  Puh-lease!

Life happens.  Even to people that we think have the perfect this or the perfect that,  life happens.  Maybe Patty Perfect had a tail when she was born, but mommy and daddy had the doctor perform a surgery to “fix” their perfect princess.

I know,  I have a morbid sense of what if at times.  Life is unfair to all of us equally.  Accept it and move on.  Even on the crappiest of crap days, you can find the silver lining to the blackest cloud.

my house was destroyed by a tornado –  I’m still alive and so are my loved ones

 I was raped –  but I wasn’t murdered! 

I lost my job –  I can find a new one that I enjoy! 

My husband left me –  I won’t have those nightly fights! 

What doesn’t kiss you makes you stronger. You don’t have to remain the victim forever.  Put the past in the past and make each day count,  own it!  You’re a survivor not a victim!  You’re an overcomer – not defeated!

So back to  our overused tropes.  I’ve had  people tell me  to not use those overused tropes.  I’ve had people tell me that  my characters need to conform to the standards.  I’ve had people tell me I need  original characters that stand out as unique.  I’ve had people tell me that I need to make the character relatable.  ARRRRGGGHHH!

Just like my inability to  conform to the CBA  guidelines, I can’t force my characters to conform to some  preformed mold.  So I either quit this nonsense of dream chasing ( and y’all know that isn’t going to happen)  or I get on with writing  in my own style.  Nobody told Stephen King how to write Flagg, or Pennywise.

I have to admit,  I contemplated it for a brief period of about an hour.  After receiving two more rejection letters I felt like I should just quit altogether. Then this crazy thing happened.  My friends rallied around me,  encouraged me to not quit,   praised my writing,  picked me up out of that mud puddle and brushed me off and  pointed out the guy that knocked me down then said – go get ’em!

RAHR!  I am not defeated and you shouldn’t let others define who you are or what your style is because of current standards.  So what if your story doesn’t fit nicely into this  niche subgenre.  MAKE YOUR OWN!   Twenty years ago noire fiction wasn’t a thing,  now it’s a thing!

If you’re in the writing industry strictly to make money then  follow the trends,  see what’s popular – see if you can jump on that train before it reaches the final station.  * cough cough – vampires, zombies*

OR,  be a trail blazer, a maverick, an innovator!  Ask yourself why are you doing this?  Is it just to make a buck?  Do you feel compelled to write? To tell stories?  Is it an inner drive that you must  do?   What do you get out of writing?  Is it a sense of accomplishment?  Satisfaction?  A check to boost your account? Is it to prove something to someone else?

Think about why you do what you do.  If it isn’t benefitting you in some way then you may want to find something else to do.  As for me,  I feel an inner driving force to write,  to tell the stories that are inside my head.  Yes, it may be a little arrogant or egotistical to think that  people will want to read my stories, but  I have to try.  If I fail, I fail honestly, by giving it the best shot I could and not measuring up. But there is something inside me that says I will not fail!  I will succeed at this and the sense of accomplishment by typing THE END  is almost as good as, well I’ll let you use your imagination there.

Pursue your dreams, don’t let others tell you what to do. Don’t be a lemming!  Don’t be the guy that is miserable with his day job and takes it out on his family.  DON’T BE THAT GUY!

Write on my friends, or go after whatever your dreams are. Make your life count!

 

Revelations


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Quotidian dose does not own rights to this image. All rights reserved to artist.

After the usual workday routine, it’s time to don the domestic goddess apron.  There has been a disruption in the force, a deviation from our usual routine. I had roughly an hour to myself  which I used to write! I have numerous manuscripts, all in various stages of completion. As I worked on my favorite project,  fingers flying over the keyboard, I had an epiphany.

This particular project is my favorite.  In the writing community there is that old saying that your first draft is always crap. Well,  in this case it was absolutely true.   Many years ago I had the inspiration for this story.  Alright I’ll be honest, the characters took up residence  and demanded my attention.  Lexy and Kyle are about the cutest couple you could imagine.  Sweet, young, and somewhat naive Lexy charmed her way right into my heart.  I know my readers will adore her. Maybe not as much as I do, but it’s kind of like a mother’s pride since in a sense I’m the one that gave her life so to speak.

My first rendition of Lexy and Kyle’s story was to be a Christian romance.  My hat is off to  those that can write those, cause I couldn’t.  First there were the CBA (Christian Bookseller’s Association) list of words that aren’t allowed.  REALLY?  I can’t use Angel?  One of my character’s is named Angel.  (Y’all are going to love her as well!)  I wrote  twelve chapters then allowed a good friend to read it.  Sitting back anxiously wringing my hands, nervous but expecting to hear – wow great job. It didn’t come.

“Well,  it starts off with action and that is good but that’s really the only action that happens and it’s kind of dull.”  Numerous chocolate shakes, pout-fests and Dove dark chocolates later I realized how invaluable this honest friend is.  AHA!  I’ll rewrite it. She’s right, it needs a lot more action.  I worked furiously at a fevered pitch.

 “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology, we have the capability to build the world’s first bionic book. Faere Deal will be that book. We can make it better than it was before; better, stronger, faster.”

My original title was Never Judge a Book by its Cover;  then Faere Deal, then a dozen other things.  I gave up on trying to write to the CBA guidelines.  My life hasn’t been squeaky clean, and if the saying holds true about write what you know, there will be some grit and grime in my world.  Besides, how do you rectify the Faery race with Christianity?  I didn’t know and gave up on  trying to make that work.  I recreated my story, keeping the initial scene that sparked the  whole thing and this crazy thing happened. It wasn’t really about Lexy and Kyle.  They were key players in a much larger scheme.  HUH!

I called my friend over to reread my new revision and complete outline, bribing her with a hot home cooked meal and dessert.  “Wow, there’s so much action I can barely catch my breath! I feel like I need a seatbelt on my chair.”

*FISTPUMP*  YES!!!!!  “Care for a second slice of pie?”  I continued working on that story, then  I was suddenly struck with the idea of “dragon complex” thanks to my daughter’s comment.  (That one is being edited currently.) In the back of my mind though, Lexy and Kyle were impatiently waiting for me to get back to their story.  Kyle  is sometimes a really impatient jerk! Since things weren’t happening he decided to get my attention.  That ploy backfired on him though, as I  started telling his brother’s tale – part of which appeared on Storytime Trysts as Passion’s Price.  AH,  yeah THAT story.

I revised Passion’s Price to a point where I thought it was good enough to submit.  My first beta reader was wowed.  She had questions though.  My second beta reader however wasn’t so impressed.  A gazillion questions, asking me about the back story,  about the overall arc, asking about the why’s whens, whats and whatnots.  *BROWS FURROW*

Fine!  I had all the information in my head, no big deal.  I’d get it all down on paper.  It was slow going,  as I went from averaging about 3000 to 5000 words a day to maybe 1000 if I was lucky. ( I had a really rough time after that auto accident, whiplash can do that!)  Slow and methodical, and then there were the days that work demands were greater and there was no writing time.  Anyway,  I’ve been editing all that additional stuff that I added.

If I were to include this part with Passion’s Price, then the book would be about 175000 words.  Combine that with Lexy and Kyle’s story, and Rob and Lana’s story with the conclusion of the overall bigger picture — I have 5 maybe 6 books instead of 3.   AND – here’s the clincher –  I have the larger majority of that already written. And I’ve been beating myself up over not having anything completed.   Honestly,  I guess it’s best that I have taken so long to tell the entire story.

 

As I prepped our evening meal enlisting the help of my daughter home from college, we had the chance to talk while we worked.  We talked about family stuff, about her school and about writing.  I shared my outline with her and she gave me some pointers.   We are both encouraged once again to continue on our writing journey. Sometimes, it’s just what you need to reignite the fires.

Write on my friends, write on!

Reality Check


My good friend and writing pal V.L. Locey has done it again! She shoots she scores! 

I have the privelege of being in a morning sprint group with this lovely lady. She is inspiring, encouraging and down to earth real  and not afraid to tell it like it is.  I have the utmost respect for her! Plus, she kicks my butt frequently!

Today marks the release for her latest addition,  Reality Check (Book 4 of the To Love a Wildcat Series) by V.L. Locey

BLURB:

The team owner/head coach relationship can be a tenuous one at times. Isabelle Lancourt can testify to just how stressful it can be. Ever since her husband passed away, leaving her his beloved Wildcats, she and Philip Moore have been at loggerheads. When the opportunity to sign a Russian hotshot presents itself, Isabelle leaps at the chance to prove herself as more than just a pretty face. Dealing with hot flashes, salary caps, and trade deadlines she can handle with ease. The aftermath of an ill-advised, but erotically superb, rendezvous in Siberia with the handsomely annoying Coach Moore? That was not in any Wildcats playbook. Can Isabelle and Philip handle the changes life is about to throw at them? Or will combining their personal and professional lives prove to be a misconduct penalty that the league simply cannot overlook?

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Buy Links:

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 Excerpts: 

“I hate to be termed over-reactionary or whiny bitch,” I opened with. The man crammed into a seat two sizes too small for him mumbled something unintelligible across the thin aisle. “And far be it for me to complain, but I think the left wing is about to fall off.”

Within a heartbeat Moore was out of his seat and leaning across me. My nose was burrowed into his shirt pocket. That brisk seafaring scent he wore wrapped its arms around my olfactory to hug my sense of smell tightly. I drew in a deep breath, held it, tasted the tang of cologne and man, then exhaled through my mouth. Philip shifted a bit.

“Sorry,” he murmured, his bulk sliding downward a bit, so that his stomach rested on the rickety arm of my mouse-chewed seat. “I think it’s just the bounce of the plane over the turbulence,” he announced after a long, and not unpleasant, moment of his abdomen brushing my breasts. When I made a weak sound of hope in reply, he glanced from the window to me, a small twist of a smile playing on his lips. The impact of our positions hit me like a cinderblock to the head. His mouth was mere inches from mine now. I could see him swallow roughly. His jaw and neck were dark with new whiskers. I wanted to feel the rasp of his stubble on my neck, breasts, and inside my thighs. I wanted. Oh, hell yes, I wanted.

The blue of his irises darkened as I studied my reflection in his eyes. Was it desire I saw, or something else profound and powerful? Love and hate share lots of secrets, being such close friends as they are. The plane hit a ball of violent air. My head coach nearly went to his knees in front of me. My fingers dug even deeper into the arms of my seat. Philip gathered himself quickly, wiggling from the space between my knees and the crummy seat in front of me.

“Sorry,” he coughed, hurrying back to his own seat. I nodded, neck tight, spine stiff, heart hammering, and thighs twitching. “You remind me of Christine,” he said out of the blue. I managed to make my head creak around to look at him. The man was in control once again. Wish I could be so quick to move from one frightening thing to another. Shit, I was still freaking out about the way my body responded to his. “She didn’t mind flying until we hit turbulence,” he explained, wistfully.

“Every time we would run into a rough patch, her eyes would grow bigger.” He paused to find me looking at him. “She had these wide eyes anyway, so she always looked surprised,” he clarified. I nodded, knowing how important talking about our lost ones is. “Anyway, when she would feel the slightest jounce up she would go, eyes as big as basketballs, and into the ladies’ room she would dash. Once, on a flight down to Florida to see our youngest son Drew when he was in college, Christine spent the entire flight in the bathroom.” He chuckled in amusement. The sound was incredibly pleasing. My anxiety lessened a bit. “I used to tease her about the well-known safety features of a ladies’ powder room during a plane crash. Sometimes our fears get the best of us, though. She knew she was just as screwed as everyone else on that plane, but something about that cramped little girls’ room made her feel less vulnerable, I suppose.”

“Colton used to say ‘There ain’t no point in fretting about dying. If the good Lord says it’s your time, then it’s your time, darling!” I tossed out in my best Texan accent. Philip laughed uneasily.

“That sounds like Colton,” he said, running his palms over his thighs briskly. I wanted to ask him how he had dealt with his wife’s death. I knew she had passed a few years back from cancer, leaving him and their two grown sons to carry on. “He was a good man. He’s sorely missed.”

 

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Author Bio:

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, belly laughs,  reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers,  comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a steer named after a famous N.H.L. goalie,  a pig named after a famous President, and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing spicy romances, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

I love to meet new friends and fans! You can find me at-

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/pages/VL-Locey/124405447678452

Twitter- https://twitter.com/vllocey

Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/vllocey/

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5807700.V_L_Locey

My blog- http://thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder.blogspot.com/

 

Secret Cravings Backlist Books:

Pink Pucks & Power Plays (Book One of the To Love a Wildcat Series)

A Most Unlikely Countess (Book Two of the To Love a Wildcat Series)

O Captain! My Captain!(Book Three of the To Love a Wildcat Series)

 

Go check out her other books as well!  Way to go Vicki!

Write on my freinds, and read a good book!