Friday, November 30, 2007

Writing Like a Fiend

No, not Unbridled. After my initial excitement at thinking I'd finally sorted out the major problems with it, I concluded I hadn't. In chat with another writer, I think I realized that the inherent issue with the book was always that the plot wanted to overshadow the romance, and everything I tried to do in pursuit of getting the romance to take precedence just added more plot. It was sort of a lose-lose proposition no matter how I went about it.

That said, I'm almost 5,000 words into a new short story (projected word count of 12.5K) that I started on a whim on Wednesday (yeah, this Wednesday). I didn't plan to start a new project--I have plenty of other existing WIPs to keep my company!--but when I got this idea, I decided I should at least jot down some notes so I wouldn't forget it later. But when I started the note-jotting, I got story instead. So I'm just going with the flow on this one.

No one's seen a word of this yet (well, that's not entirely true; another writer I do challenges with in chat has seen little chunks of it), but I have to say I'm super excited about it, perhaps in part because I think I'm going to be done with it by the middle of next week. I pitched the concept to Deanna at Cobblestone and she loves the idea (I think her exact words were "There's something dark and dirty about this concept. I love dark and dirty."), and since it's too short for print, I plan to send it to her when it's done and edited.

And, as is always the case with me, there are sequels...

And now I have to get back on it. Ta-ta for now, my friends!

Friday, November 23, 2007

When Your Characters Are Smarter than You Are...Listen!

Betcha thought I'd be so stuffed with turkey and trimmings today, I'd forget to post. No such luck :)!

As you know, I started working in earnest on revamping Unbridled last week. My goal was to have a revised version ready for submission to agents/editors by the end of March.

I rewrote the synopsis last week and started writing the new scene that I thought would mark the end of the partial. It was supposed to feature lots of sexual tension between the hero and heroine, plenty of angsty conflict, and end with a kiss. In the synopsis, it looked like the scene made perfect sense and would make an excellent turning point in the romance as well as the plot.

But when I sat down to write, Patrick and Rosalind flat-out refused to cooperate. Hard as I tried to tap into their feelings of frustration and jealousy and distrust, I couldn't. Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make them feel those things--yet.

After fighting with the scene for four days, I gave up. I was trying to force a square peg in a round hole for the sake of what I thought would make a good scene because it would have lots of conflict. But the characters just weren't there in their relationship yet, so even though I wrote the conflict, the emotion fell flat.

I felt pretty depressed about the whole thing all day yesterday (but not enough to spoil my appetite, LOL, and I'm lugging around a couple of extra pounds to prove it!). I couldn't see how to push the story and the romance forward without that scene. At the same time, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was the wrong scene for these characters at this point in their story. (And maybe ever. The truth is, my characters don't fight with each other nearly as much as they fight their inner demons.)

The Magical Mulch Pile(TM) was looking pretty good, but I thought maybe I should purloin a h/h scene from the original manuscript that I really liked and see if I couldn't find a way to use it at this point in the story. I did my cut and paste job, read through the scene, loved it just as much as I always had, but still wasn't sure how to make it fit.

Ten minutes ago, it hit me. I know what comes next. It changes parts of the story downstream (hello, synopsis...again!) but it's I think exactly what the story needs. Before, the heroine she was just waiting for the axe to fall. Now, she's getting her own axe. Plus, it's funny. Potentially very funny.

So, bottom line, I'm all excited again. Yay!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bad Blogger

I know this post is a week overdue. Life just got away from me there, as it has a habit of doing from time to time.

So, what have I been up to? Mostly, not enough, however, I am now fully engaged in replotting Unbridled. I started out by trying to write a scene-by-scene storyboard using an Excel spreadsheet (I'm not a sticky note kinda girl). It looks like this:

I like the visual effect of the colors to indicate point of view, but ultimately concluded that I just couldn't see the story scene-by-scene yet, and so I decided yesterday to tackle a new version of the synopsis. I managed to crank out 1,750 words of what should be about a 2,250 word synopsis yesterday. Ultimately, I'd like to cut that down to fit within five pages at TNR 12, but it's mostly for my own edification at this point, so the length isn't that important. I'm pretty sure I see now how the story should end, so I should be able to hammer out the remainder of the synopsis today.)

From there, I plan to use the spreadsheet to map out the story 3-5 scenes at a time, write those scenes, then return to the spreadsheet to map out the next 3-5. I've realized that although I can see the broad outlines of the story, I can't necessarily see the next few scenes until I've written what comes before them.

So, that's what's happening in my world. Now for something completely different:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Free Stuff Alert

Jackie's running a contest to help her title a book. Go to her blog to play!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Creepy, Crawly Little Writer

Stephanie Rowe, multipublished author of the Rita-nominated He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot, the newly released Sex and the Immortal Bad Boy, Must Love Dragons, and Date Me Baby, One More Time, is guesting today over at the Manuscript Mavens blog and, I have to confess, reading her daily page count goal put me pretty much to shame. She shoots for 12 pages per day, 7 days a week. She usually gets more like 18.

And she does it as the mother of a toddler!

My God, when I was the mother of a toddler (actually, I was sometimes the mother of multiple toddlers, but let's forget that whine for the moment), I could scarcely form coherent sentences half the time, much less coherent characters and plots. And I certainly couldn't have written anything sexy, since my idea of bliss at the time was climbing into bed and going to sleep! (Oh, my poor husband. Truly, I feel for him now!)

Even now that my kids are all in school six hours per day and I get an average of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, I still only manage to average about 2 pages per day, 5 days per week. Good Lord, at that pace, I'll finish my first full-length book about the time I'm eligible to collect Social Security (which is coming much faster than I'd like to think!).

True, that "average" over 5 days per week includes days when I don't write anything at all for one reason or another. I do have a full-time job, of course, I'm actively involved in my older son's Cub Scout Pack and my daughter's Brownie troop, I have a house to keep in a minimal state of cleanliness between the housekeeper's weekly visits, and I have a husband and kids who perversely want my attention (and also like it if I feed them regularly). So I have good excuses for my low page count.

But ultimately, they are just excuses. I should be able to write considerably more in the roughly two hours I have each weekday to devote to writing. There's no excuse for writing at the ridiculously slow pace of a page per hour!

As if to create a perfect storm of making me feel utterly inadequate, yesterday saw the beginning of NaNoWriMo. My friend and fellow Cobblestone author, Yolanda Sfetsos, is "playing" and in two days, she wrote over 10,000 words. (A couple of days before that, she finished a 15K word story in two days, picking it up from 1,500 words.)

How is this possible? Are these writers robots? Ultra-caffeinated word-producing ninjas? Inquiring minds want to know!

So, how about you? How many words/pages do you write per day on average? How much time do you devote to writing each day? Do you give yourself a daily goal (whether it's a specific page/word count or a scene count)? If you do, do you usually meet/exceed it, or fall short? (I confess to mostly falling short.) What techniques have you found for helping you meet your daily goal?