Some weeks ago, I wrote about the difficulty of finding time to write. More specifically, I wrote about my own inability to prioritize writing given my other obligations, particularly those of my day job, which had reached a zenith of stressfulness in January. While I was ‘this close’ to just turning in my resignation, I don’t like to jump into something that life-altering without a plan. So I started working on something that I often do in my day job: a gap analysis. Where are we now, where do we want to be, and what is in that gap separating the two.
For my life purposes, the ‘where are we now’ was the over-stressed, exhausted, time-deprived state of my life. The ‘where do we want to be’…well, that was harder to pinpoint. I spent more time thinking about where I didn’t want to be. But just like starting with a negative character goal in a story, coming at this from a negative angle was making it hard to see how I could progress to a positive place. Then I read this post on the Reinventing Fabulous blog, and puzzle pieces started shifting into place. Continue reading
Word of mouth is a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to books. If I’d simply read the blurb for R Lee Smith’s The Last Hour Of Gann, I’d never have bought it in a million years, but lately it’s seemed that whenever I spend time browsing for reading suggestions, I trip over it. Clearly the universe has been trying to tell me I should forget that the book is a dark sci-fi epic categorised as erotica (no, no, no, no, thanks) and just read it already. So I did, and now, holy moly, it’s my turn to spread the word.
There’s a fascinating piece of research by Emory University that says reading a novel triggers positive change in the brain, at least for a few days. Continue reading
Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet, Regency heroines
I think every writer struggles with the concept of “likable” characters, but the fact is that for most people, you get what you get. Your girls in the basement send someone up, and it’s up to you to work with them, and tweak or train them into characters who are likable, or at least interesting. If you can.
This has been on my mind lately because I just caught up with the “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” on YouTube. I loved the modern interpretation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and a combination of factors made it extremely watchable and fun. Wanting more, I continued on to “Emma Approved,” which takes Austen’s Emma out for a spin in the 21st century.
Rather famously, Austen was worried about Emma (the main character) and her likability factor. She called Emma “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” I find that very true – Emma is a much harder book for me to get into because Emma is such a controlling, childish, unaware creature.
Interestingly enough, I think there are a lot of parallels between Emma and Elizabeth Bennet (Eliza Bennet is a character I like a lot, by the way). Continue reading
I’m in the midst of preparing for an upcoming trip to Arizona to attend the Desert Dreams Conference sponsored by Desert Rose, a regional chapter of RWA. My travel arrangements are booked, I’ve chosen the workshops I’ll attend, my itinerary for the research portion of my trip is almost set, my business cards are ordered, and I’m in the process of freshening up my website. There’s just one thing left to do: Prepare for my pitch session.
I don’t know about you, but pitching my book ranks right up there with talking in front of a group (of two or more people), asking a strange man in a bar for a date, or buying a chili dog with the works from a street vendor. In other words, at the top of my “most scary things ever” list. Continue reading
BookBub’s mystery word cloud
Most of us on this blog haven’t thought too much as yet about what we’ll name our books when they’re finished. In class, we talked about the burden a title must bear—a good one should suggest genre, theme, tone, maybe even setting and character. Getting it right is difficult.
The words used in book titles have trends, according to BookBub, an ebook promotion services company. Using data from the last six months, BookBub analyzed 3,850 books to see which words turn up most frequently in titles. BookBub looked at multiple fiction categories, including mysteries, thrillers, women’s fiction, historical fiction, action and adventure, horror, contemporary romance, historical romance, children’s and middle grade, and religious and inspirational, and built word clouds to show the results. Which word was used the most often across all categories? Continue reading
Writing is not a straight journey from point A to point B
The drive home from work each day is my prime story brainstorming time (not the morning drive – I’m still mostly asleep then). The Girls in the Basement rarely deign to participate but the other day, back from whatever tropical island they had been hiding on in recent months, they dropped by with tons of new ideas. Regrettably, none of the ideas had anything to do with the story I’m currently slogging through. After more than a year working on it The Girls have completely lost interest in what happens next to Michael and Abigail and instead wanted to brainstorm a story idea from close to twenty years ago. Continue reading
There’s an interesting paradox in the writing world. When you read tips about plotting from professional writers (the folks who do it full-time), they’ll tell you that there’s no one way to plot a book. Some people are pantsers, some are plotters. Some use the Snowflake method, others skin the cat (oh, wait…Save the Cat. Sorry, cat-lovers). Some outline, some don’t, and then some do a combination of the above.
Why is it, then, that when giving advice about actually doing the writing, almost all of them say, “Write every day.” Why can’t this, too, be something that is unique to the individual? Continue reading