Elizabeth: Characters and Christmas

2008-xmas-dsc_0498As I mentioned in last week’s post, I spent a few days recently at the Happiest Place on Earth (Disneyland), taking a digital break and doing a little mental refresh.  The weather was good, the fireworks were spectacular, and it was great to disconnect for a little while.  Now that I’m back and the holiday decorations are up (mostly), it’s time to work on my manuscript.

Though I don’t have a daily word goal this month like I did in November, I’m trying to follow Jilly’s advice and to make sure my story doesn’t get lost in the holiday / year-end crush.

Right now I’m focusing on getting to know my characters a little better. Continue reading

Elizabeth: NaNoWriMo Reality Check

Critical NaNoWriMo writing supplies

Critical NaNoWriMo writing supplies (note they are all still unopened)

So it’s down to the last week or so in the annual writing extravaganza known as NaNoWiMo and things are not looking good here in the Fortress of Writing.

I had high hopes for this year; due in part to last year’s success, but sadly, that hope was misplaced.  While there were some external circumstances that I couldn’t really have foreseen, my biggest stumbling block was inadequate preparation.

Last year I started November 1st with conflict boxes, clearly defined characters, and an outline for my story.  I had a fairly good idea what needed to happen in the beginning, middle, and end, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time wondering what should happen next.  Even better, since I knew where I was heading, it was fairly easy to jump around and work on whatever scene had my attention at the time, rather than having to write sequentially in order to uncover the story.  I wrote late at night, in the dark, and spent very little time looking back over what I had written.

Naturally, since that worked so well last year I did something completely different this year.  (In hindsight, not my best decision.) Continue reading

Michaeline: Lois McMaster Bujold Answers Three (Okay, Four) Questions about the Writing Process

penrics-mission-cover-2016-11-book-three-bujold

Today, we’ve got a short interview with Lois McMaster Bujold about the writing process. Just in time for National Novel Writing Month’s first weekend! Lois writes the thrilling tales of the Vorkosigan family, the Wide Green World, and the World of the Five Gods. This week, the third story about Penric in the W5G came out: Penric’s Mission was published on November 2, 2016. (Announcement on her Goodreads blog, here.) Lois is a master of speculative fiction, and her liberal use of romance in these genres makes her worlds rich and real. Grab a cyber beverage from the Eight Ladies Writing fridge, and pull up a seat!

MD: So, National Novel Writing Month is basically about creating a first draft of at least 50,000 words. What’s your favorite thing about writing the first draft?

LMB: Finishing it. (-:

Starting it runs a close second, true. Then, probably, those moments when a sticky knot gets suddenly undone by some neat idea or inspiration that I didn’t have — often couldn’t have had — earlier. Continue reading

Elizabeth: I Read it in a Fortune Cookie

fortune_cookieNaNoWriMo is less than a week away and, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve been laying some ground work to (hopefully) ensure my November is as productive as possible.  Tonight’s fortune cookie message seems to agree with that plan.

“Prepare today for the demands of tomorrow”

On a whim, I gathered up the other discarded fortune messages from the dinner table this evening to see what other helpful advice I could find.

“You will enjoy doing something different this coming weekend”

Hmm.  Continue reading

Jilly: Snippet

My head is so deep in my WIP right now, I don’t want to think about anything else. I love this feeling. Even when I’m dealing with Real Life – and life’s currently throwing some meaty challenges my way – Alexis is in the background, ready to grab my attention as soon as I have a moment to spare.

After weeks of spinning my wheels, I feel as though I’ve found some traction again. Yay! I hope it lasts, but just in case, I’m spending as much time as I can buried in my laptop. So instead of writing another progress report, this week I thought I’d share a snippet instead.

I hope you enjoy it!

***

“I still think we should wait until the morning to try this,” Kierce said.

We stood barefoot in the moonlight on the damp grass in front of his house on the northern boundary of the farm. Continue reading

Justine: Slow Burn in Romance

11347342 - burning candle. an ancient candlestick, a dark background

This past Sunday, Jilly brought up a “blunder” with her recent contest entry. She’s writing a romance, but the relationship between her H&H is a slow burn. However, she got dinged by a few of the judges because there was little evidence of romance in her story (at least the first 50 or so pages) and none in her synopsis, yet this was a contest for romance writers.

I find it coincidental that Jilly got this feedback recently, because I’ve just read two books by Sarah MacLean (in her new Scandal and Scoundrel series) and one by Lenora Bell where there isn’t much evidence of romance right off the bat, either. Yet Continue reading

Guest Blogger Margie Lawson: Writing Stellar Smiles

smileRead a smile you’ve never read before? Could be awesome!

Read a smile you’ve read hundreds of times? Could be loathsome.

We all know those clichéd, overused, carry-no-interest smiles and grins.

Here are a few overused smiles and grins:

  • Half-smile
  • Weak smile
  • Broad smile
  • Silly smile
  • Ear-to-ear smile
  • Smile that didn’t reach eyes
  • Infectious grin
  • Impish grin
  • Fought a grin
  • Teasing grin
  • Wicked grin
  • Lopsided grin

Compare those to Continue reading