Now, on to the real reason of this post! Yesterday from midnight to midnight, a few of my new friends and I participated in the 10K in a Day Blogfest on Twitter. It was a lot of fun! Today, we are posting excerpts from what we wrote yesterday!
Guess what? I got an amazing 10,122 words written yesterday!!!! That brings my NaNo total to 53,549 and I still have a few days left!
How did you guys do?
Here is my excerpt! I hope you enjoy! Remember it's first draft so don't rip it to shreds too much!
Excerpt from "Tutelage of Mortality" Book 2 of The Faery's Tale Saga
Drache lifted his head to gaze into her eyes. He balanced his weight on one elbow, and smoothed her hair with his hand. Her blue and green eyes looked at him in adoration. She was absolutely beautiful. He ached to be at home with plenty of faes running around the castle. Faes with blonde hair and blue-green eyes like hers. Her chime-like laughter and bright smile.
"I love you."
The corner of her mouth curled up. "You do?"
He nodded. "Very much so."
"I love you too."
His lips brushed over hers in a feather light kiss. He gently nipped her bottom lip before deepening the kiss. Her lips tasted sweeter than anything he had known before. She definitely was addictive; but he did not mind the addiction.
The door to their room burst open, banging against the wall. Ten year old Karina raced into the room giggling madly. She froze in the center of the room to stare at her brother and his wife.
"Are you kissing? That's so gross!"
Drache burst into laughter. "Why is that?"
Karina's face turned serious as she leaned forward. "Cooties," she whispered.
Drache and Rosyani both laughed, clutching each other in their amusement.
The young fae put her hands on her hips. "Well, it's true."
"Maybe I want cooties." Drache chuckled.
Drache and Rosyani continued to laugh as they sat up and threw their feet to the floor. "Now what were you giggling about when you rushed in?"
"Uncle Cadmus and I are playing tag."
Cadmus jumped into the room and growled. Karina screamed in delight and raced under his legs out of the room. Cadmus shot them a cheesy grin before he ran after the young fae.
Go check out the other excerpts posted by everyone that participated!
For a reminder, here is what I said about the boss in the first post:
A take charge type of woman accepting nothing but respect. She doesn't care of she gets a few people upset on her rise to the top. Succeeding in her goals is the most important thing to her.
Let's dig a little deeper and talk about the good and bad side of The Boss. I also mentioned a few examples for you, to help you really understand who the Boss is and how her roles fits into the world.
The Good Side
> Head strong
> Full of strength and power
> It's her way or no way at all.
> Wants results yesterday!
> Resolves any conflict quickly
> In total control of any environment she's in (and some she's not)
> Works on her own schedule
> Quick to make decisions
The Bad Side
> Avoids time restraints and other people's deadlines.
> Avoids situations and places where she has no control as much as possible.
> Uncomfortable (nervous) in situations where she has no control (might even act out in anger).
Some of the good side points can be considered bad too, if they lead to unsavory results! Think of the conflict you can create combing this type of heroine with any of the heros or with a juicy plot twist!
> Cleopatra (a perfect example of a Boss)
> Queen Elizabeth (in real history and as played by Cate Blanchett in the movie Elizabeth)
> Murphey Brown (as played by Candice Bergen)
What other examples of a Boss can you think of (besides yourself)? Do you have a Boss in your stories? Tell us about her!
Remember that these archetypes are simply the basic materials to help you mold your characters. Many characters fall under more than one archetype. Think about some of the great combinations you can create for your characters as these posts continue.
Coming Next: Heroine Archetype - The Seductress
A Few Words on Professionalism
Over the years I've seen authors do a lot of crazy things online. Today I'm going to talk about just a few of them.
Being an author means that a lot of my business is conducted online. This means the internet is essentially my office. I communicate with my boss (editor) via email. I interact with customers (readers) via blogs and social networking sites. Instead of drinks after work with coworkers, I socialize with fellow authors through private Yahoo groups and Instant Messengers. As in any business, it's important to be professional. You don't roll into work and start cursing and ranting to the room at large about your crappy paycheck. You don't shout from the rooftops when you have grievances about the company you work for. If we're unhappy about such issues, we go to our boss and discuss the matter in a civilized and intelligent manner.
However, there are some authors who either don't care or simply forget that the internet is indeed a public place. Anyone who happens across your name can read everything you say. So, I'll start by sharing a few things I've personally seen or experienced that left me dumbfounded. A quick note. The review site references below are things I've come face to face with over the last year and half as I do happen to work behind the scenes of a review site.
Text speak. I’m amazed at how many use text speak to send a message to a review site. Authors, words are your business. Do not use 'ur' in the body of an email when requesting a review.
Complaining about your publisher(s) on Facebook. Social networking sites have never been and will never be the proper place to air your dirty laundry. If you have legitimate issues take them to the appropriate people. Your agent, editor, publisher. If that fails, if nothing is resolved, then consider talking privately with other authors with the same publisher. Discuss how best to proceed. If there are real problems with this publisher (Dorchester for example) then clearly something has to be done. A lawyer might be required. If you're concerned about other authors being duped by this same publisher, then let places like P & E know what's going on. Talk to Publisher's Weekly and Dear Author. It's definitely good to get the word out, but do it the right way.
Royalty whining. Again, going on and on about your low royalties on Facebook or Twitter is not going to sell more books. I've personally seen authors plead with their Facebook friends, 'please buy my book'. That's so far from professional it should be a given.
Angry emails. Please, think before hitting send. Stop and breathe before leaving nasty comments to reviewers because they didn’t LOVE your book. I can't believe how often this happens. I've had my share of blah reviews, but firing off a message filled with curse words to the review site is not a smooth move. One important thing to remember here is that reviewers are avid readers. They review because it helps feed their addiction for books. They have friends. They blog. Do you really want to shoot off at the mouth because you got a 3 instead of a 5? Still, if you feel this strongly about a review site, maybe all the reviews you get from them are tepid or lame, then send a note to your publisher and ask them to stop sending your books to that site, but do it in a civilized way. If the review site is buying your books and reviewing them on their own, then just suck it up and count it as one more book sold. In the end, remember that a bad review is not the end of the world. We all get them.
Read before asking. I've seen this happen on my publisher author loops, often. So many of us are in a hurry and we tend to fire of a message filled with questions to our publisher before taking the time to see if the question was already answered elsewhere. For instance, a new way to receive your royalty statements can be confusing. However, check the publisher's business loop, or ask on the author loop before filling your publisher's inbox with questions that she/he already answered. The publishers I write for are busy people. They're working on statements, formatting, marketing, new releases, etc. Don't hold that process up because you failed to do a quick check first.
Cursing. I have a dirty mouth sometimes, I admit it. However, I save those nasty words for private email. Using the F word over and over in your status updates is beyond annoying and you're likely to offend someone. Readers, editors, agents. Clean it up. Most of us want editors and agents to take us seriously. When they read your disgusting *&%$#@$ status updates she/he is definitely not taking you seriously.
That massive backlist. This is not something I see often, but a few authors do this so regularly that I'm betting any reviewer reading this will automatically know exactly who I'm talking about. Please, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT send a review site all 50 books in your backlist for review, then send them all again a month later when they don’t ALL get reviewed right away. And then again a month after that. And a month after that. I will not use names, but if you're reading this please please stop. They're in the database already!
Read those instructions. Every review site has a list of instructions on how to submit a book for review. They need certain information and they can't list your book until they get that information. So, sending a review site 50% of the info about your book and making them hunt down the other 50%, and then not even bothering to have said 50% on your website, yeah, that's incredibly annoying. We authors want those reviews completed yesterday, but that can't happen if they have to dig clear to China just find the ISBN or page count, or heat level, etc.
More about instructions. The same goes for submissions. Most publishers have specific writing guidelines. Please read them. You're wasting your time and theirs if you send them something that doesn't fit with their line.
Profile pictures. Oh boy. What can I say about this particular topic. I guess all I can really say is that using cleavage shots as your profile picture is...tacky. Potential editors and agents do not want to see your boobs. Keep your profile picture clean. Tess mentioned in one post about author branding. Definitely a great idea! Use an image that ties in with your website. If you don't have something of that nature, then do what a lot of authors do and use a nice headshot or book cover. Just please, keep those pretty D cups under wraps!
Be nice. Once upon a time, saying 'please' and 'thank you' was second nature. I've noticed that's not the case anymore. This is an example of what I've personally seen at the review company I work for:
My new RS bk called "Whatever Title". Pls review. Ty.
Okay, we all love our cell phones. And it's lots of fun to use text speak. But when asking for someone to review your book you might at least use complete sentences. And actually typing out the words 'thank you' is a good thing, trust me. Also, it never hurts to say something to the person your requesting a review from. If I submit my book myself to a review site--I don't have to very often because my publisher does it--then it's because I like their site. I've browsed their reviews and felt they were honest and well written. So, I let the review site know that in my email. Complimenting is not necessary, of course. It's simply a nice thing to do.
Those gorgeous signature lines. Yahoo Groups are a great way to promote your books. Talking to readers, getting to know them, sharing a little about yourself. It's all good. However, having 100 lines of stupid nonsense in your signature line that makes everyone on digest insane is NOT. You do not need a review quote for every book you ever wrote in your signature line. You do not need fifty banners either. Keep it short! One banner, your website/blog link, a few titles. That keeps the poor folks on digest from creating voodoo dolls of you.
And now some very good advice on professionalism from Ellora's Cave Editor-in-Chief, Kelli Collins:
Probably the most eye-popping examples of unprofessionalism I see on a regular
basis are in query letters and submissions. Let me just say this: Yes, I work
for an erotica publisher. And yes, I can discuss sex all day long…in the context
of your book. Please, for the love of all that’s virginal, do NOT give me
specifics on your personal life in your query letters. I don’t want to know
about the experiences that make you an expert in BDSM, or threesomes, or certain
ouchy sex acts. Really.
But the most shocking act of unprofessionalism
I’ve personally witnessed? It was in a submission that contained – wait for it –
visual aides. No, not the hot, somewhat tasteful nudes you can find in abundance
online. These were personal photos of a couple engaging in hardcore booty
knocking, complete with (*shudder*) the “happy ending” shot. If the author
wanted my attention, that sub definitely got it. In the worst way possible. Be
memorable through your stories, please, not by sharing intimate details or your
personal sex portfolios.
A final word about professionalism. The fact is, every publisher and editor I've ever worked with told me straight up that they did indeed Google me first. My agent as well. So, before you do anything online you should know that the internet is an essential part of your query letter. Would you really use the F word in a query? A cleavage shot? Hmm...
Thanks again Anne! Such great advice! Check out the Three Wicked Writers (plus two) blog. I have been browsing through past posts over the weekend and they have some great stuff to read! So go take a looksie!
I began writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. I wrote those little stories about the apple tree on the school grounds or about how awesome my parents were. As an older child and a teen, I got deep into poetry. It helped to ease the angst of those troublesome years.
It wasn't until I was an adult that I really got into novel writing. I had always wanted to write stories and full length novels, but I never really applied myself to it.
The first novel I ever wrote was a mystery/romance. It is salvagable but at the moment, horribly written. I don't think at the age of 16 I was ready or knowledgable enough to write a romance, much less a mystery. So, it's collecting dust at the moment and I might return to it someday.
Writing fantasy, just sort of happened for me. I didn't really make a concious decision about it. I just started writing and tada - fantasy novel. And it just stuck with me. I love building new worlds and cultures and races. I think it appeals to the side of me that never really grew up. The side that still believes in faeries and dragons and elves and all those sorts of things.
So, I guess what inspires me to write fantasy is my inner child. The part that still believes in real magic (not the stuff magicians do on stage, but REAL magic). I just love it! Crafting brand new worlds and all the things that go into just makes me happy.
Writing fantasy is also an escape for me in a way. I can leave behind the stress of my life and enter into a whole other world. While I do want to write other genres like mystery or urban fantasy, I think right now my true calling is High Fantasy. *shrug* It just appeals to me in all ways and I think I'm pretty good at it. It fits, plain and simple.
Sorry this isn't more indepth or with a shocking revelation about why I write fantasy. I just do. It's me. *shrug*
I think every writer should go with what 'fits' for THEM, not what the industry is demanding at the time. While I can understand the want to follow the trends and write for them because of the drive to be published, I think you're work will reflect that it's not really what you enjoy doing. I love writing High Fantasy and I think that shows in my work. And the readers will see it too. For me, enjoying - and I mean really enjoying - what I write is more important than anything else. Because let's face it, if you aren't enjoying what you're writing, then why are you doing it in the first place?
Don't forget to hop around to the other members of the Fantastic Friday Writers to read why they write fantasy and/or sci-fi!
Tune in on Dec. 3rd when the Fantastic Friday Writers talk about how we connect with our characters on a personal level!
The rules are very simple!
1. Sign up with the Mr. Linky below.
2. At midnight on Nov 28, start writing! (Start at midnight YOUR time)
3. Try to reach 10,000 words by midnight! (literally 24 hours of writing!)
4. On Nov 29, post an excerpt (small scene) from what you wrote on your blog! Don't forget to post your count for the day!
On the 28th, join me on Twitter as I post updates and encouragement! Use the hashtag #10KInADay. My Twitter name is @AVPergakis. If you want, leave your twitter name in a comment below so everyone can follow you!
Don't put too much stress on reaching 10,000 words in one day. Perhaps you can only get 5,000, that's great too! This idea originally started by Dawn Embers during NaNoWriMo to get going with meeting word count. I joined her in the challenge and it helped me get caught up! Use this blogfest as chance to get caught up on NaNo (or even just get a huge lead on your writing!) Just have fun with it!
Don't forget to sign up below and join us on Twitter on the 28th!
Thanks Christopher for the suggestion to make a button! Here it is! Enjoy!
Here is another video blog for you guys! I hope you enjoy it. I don't have any more of the NaNo poem as this week was a bit busy but I promise I'll have more for you next week.
People Mentioned in this Video:
Jareth the Muse (oh! I should give him his own page on my website!)
Changes in Writing
I’d like to thank Anastasia for the honors in being her guest today!
My name is Elizabeth Mueller. I’ve been writing for as long as I remember. I write into the night while the kidlets snooze or when they are out to school. I love to help others in beta reading, critiquing, bouncing ideas (brainstorming and philosophizing are my weaknesses!), and just about anything writerly.
Today, I’m posting about a particular struggle I have as a writer.
One thing that I do—which I believe is the bane for many writers—is every time I finish a how-to book on writing, and after I apply it, my writing changes. My book was thin, starving and gasping for rich oxygenated imagination. Well, I was able to apply the correct techniques to get it closer to publication, but I had to find a happy medium so that it wouldn’t stifle my creativity.
After reading a book on writing, I wrote an entire novel (Rock Star). I was so excited to get it all out. I finished at only 26, 442 words, approximately 109 pages. How bad is that? I remember as I wrote, I was so careful to apply the rules of dialogue—keeping it snappy, lively and natural. I also applied the speech tags: Editors/publishers, for the most part, like the ‘said’ word rather than their exotic synonyms. I had also learned about infodumping. That was my biggest downfall! My scenes were short and choppy. I didn’t go into character or setting description for fear of infodumping.
Yes, I was very frustrated with my book and confused on how I could fuse my newly acquired knowledge with my writing. I tucked it away and wrote an entirely different novel. After submitting Rock Star to my critique group, I was ready to fix it.
I grew a lot 2 novels later when I got back to Rock Star. I was able to apply the learned rules, plus more, without hurting it. Now it is 115,220 words, 371 pages! I’m slowly editing my novel and will submit it pretty soon. I’m so thrilled to do this!
Have you found that about your work, when you’ve just learned new writing rules? That it makes you write so differently, it almost feels forced? Stifling? How do you cope with it?
Anastasia, thank you for letting me share my passion for writing with your lovely followers!
People Mentioned in the Vlog: (PS I hope I said everyone's name right!)
James Garcia, Jr.
Kurt Chambers (His Post I mentioned)
Read the first two installments HERE and HERE. Remember, I'll be posting the entire thing together at the end of NaNo!
Pantsing Through a Series – Is It Possible?
Plotter or pantser? What are you? I consider myself a pantser, although possibly I’m more of a hybrid. I know, from past experience, that I Can. Not. Outline. If I do, I know what happens. If I already know what happens, I lose interest, explaining all the incomplete manuscripts sitting in the attic from my early years.
On the other hand, I do have a climactic scene in mind when I start and a couple plot turns and twists for how to get there. And as I go, I jot down notes for more plot elements and scenes.
For the most part, though, my characters drove Promise and Purpose. What I originally had in mind changed drastically. Those key scenes I imagined in the beginning are still there, but very different now. And a lot of the fun of writing these stories was when something came together without planning it. When something seemingly random would flow out of my fingers and I really didn’t understand its purpose until 150 pages later, when it suddenly showed its meaning. Just like when reading a good story!
For example (not a great one, but the first to come to mind), in one of the last revisions of Promise, a character showed up in a scene that he had never been in before. I thought, “Okay, dude, why’d you decide to show up now? I mean, I’m about to wrap this up and you suddenly want to jump in?” But by the time I finished revising that scene, I realized he needed to be there for the new ending. None of the other characters would have worked. I couldn’t have planned it any better.
So I’m really hesitant about plotting and outlining. In fact, I’m actually scared of it. After all, pantsing has worked so well for me, when outlining has not. But I have a whole series to write and I don’t know if I can do it right without some extensive planning.
When you look at really good series – ones with planned endings – there are elements from earlier books that all come together in the end. Take Harry Potter. Each book brings in characters, objects, experiences, etc., from earlier books and they all accumulate, twist and turn together for the last book. You can’t carry that off so brilliantly without a plan. What if Neville had been killed in Goblet of Fire instead of Cedric? What would have happened in Deathly Hallows, then? If Rowling had been pantsing and that had happened, she’d probably be kicking herself as she’s writing the last book. But there’s nothing she could have done about it, but find someone else – someone less perfect – to pull the sword out in the end.
Writing a fantasy creates even more hazards. When you’re creating a world, you have to mind your own rules. So you can’t say in book two that Elmo can’t fly more than 50 miles at a time, and then in book five have him fly from New York to Moscow. If that lengthy flight becomes absolutely necessary for the plot’s progression, then it would have been nice to know while writing book two, right?
So the pantser faces quite a dilemma when writing a series. The answer seems to be clear: Plot. Outline. Plan ahead. Sacrifice the thrill of learning the story as it progresses to ensure it’s as good as it can be. It sounds so easy. It probably is easy.
But it frightens the comfy pantsing-pants right off me. What will I do if I lose interest? Will I be able to finish what I’ve started? Will I still love it or will I hate every minute of it? I suppose it’s like following the advice of an editor who wants you to cut a scene you love. You do it because you know it’s in the best interest of the story. As writers, that’s what we have to do – whatever is best for the story.
So what are you? Plotter or pantser? Are you writing a series? Have you had to change your methods? And any tips for this pantser who needs to plan?
Kristie is the author of Promise, released in July 2010, and Purpose, releasing in December 2010. She can be found at www.KristieCook.com and www.a-musedwriter.blogspot.com.
The linky widget below will allow you to 'hop' to the other blogs to read their posts! This is sure to be fun! Our first posts are merely introducing ourselves and this new project. As we are in different time zones, some posts might be up later than others on Friday morning. Regardless, you will still get five different view points on the same topic.
Now, myself, I write High Fantasy but I have a few ideas in the future for Sci-Fi and Urban Fantasy. My followers know that I am highly character driven in my stories and I post often about this topic. World building is a key component to writing Fantasy and Sci-fi stories, so I also blog about this a great deal.
This new group will blog about world building, character development - gearing all posts to fantasy/sci-fi genres. We will also discuss other aspects of writing such as critiquing, query letters, etc. This is sure to be fun for everyone and I hope you guys enjoy hopping around to the different bloggers in the group.
SO - without further ado, use the Mr. Linky below to meet the rest of the Fantastic Friday Writers!
Next week we'll be discussing what inspires our fantasy/sci-fi minds to write what we do! That is sure to be some great posts - see you then!
More lines of the "Twas the Night before NaNo" poem. Read the beginning HERE. I'll be posting up the entire poem together at the end of this month for you to read all at once.
With my butt in the chair, pencil in hand
Muse and I ready for a long writing stand.
First one page then two, and straigt on to three,
day one was epic, the words flowing free!
Day two arrived with a flourish of ink
I barely had time to breathe or to think.
Third day came and went with more on the page,
the plot unfolding with the actors center stage.
every creature was stirring, including the mouse.
The pencils were sharpened and pointed with care,
the keyboard prepared for a lot of wear.
The paper was stacked all neat on the desk,
ready for the ultimate writing test.