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

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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

Kay: Making Characters Behave

Colored etching by Thomas Rowlandson, 10 October 1810 (Wellcome Library, London)

Colored etching by Thomas Rowlandson, 10 October 1810 (Wellcome Library, London)

I’m huffing and puffing along with my WIP, in which every word, action, relationship, plot twist, and characterization is driving me nuts. This week my nightmare is the relationship of my hero and heroine. I can’t seem to find a reason why they shouldn’t get together. And sometimes I can’t find a reason why they should.

My hero is a wealthy guy, very successful in his first career, and now, embarking on his second, looking to make a fortune there, too. My heroine is a Spunky Girl, also in her second career. She made a spectacular splash but not a fortune in her first job and now, having located to be closer to the hero, is determined to become the best in her new line of work. Because Backstory, it’s important to her that no one think she’s a gold digger or riding on the hero’s coattails, so she’s careful to take things slowly.

This is book two; in book one they cemented an attraction. My plan for book two is that they get engaged. To move that arc, my plan is that in the beginning, the hero wants her to move in and she won’t, and by the end, he’s proposed and she’s accepted. Continue reading

Nancy: (Just Like) Starting Over

writing-plan-bA few weeks ago, I told you about my quest to get my butt in the chair and words on the page, to re-engage with my WIP after long months away from it due to obligations of the dreaded ‘day job’. Getting my writing mojo back was not going well, and I need to take Nike’s advice and ‘just do it’. Just sit down and type.

At first, that approach seemed to work. I’d get down a few hundred words here and there. Then I realized some scenes were nothing like I remembered them, and I made notes about fixing them. After that, I realized some scenes I would have sworn I’d written were really just in my head, not on the page. Things were going from bad to worse.

But we are a tenacious group, we writers. So one night I sat down with a glass of wine (hey, tenacity sometimes needs a boost) and pondered how I should approach this mess of a WIP I’d made. Although it wasn’t so much that I’d made a mess of it. Stepping away from it for so long had allowed my subconscious to write a better story. It had fixed some plot holes and gotten to the deeper essence of my characters, which drives how they will act/react, which drives the plot. See, a glass (or maybe it was two) of wine can do wonderful things for perspective. Continue reading