Preparation in Pictures!

Here’s what I’ve been doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo:

1. Laying in bed staring at the yellow leaves on the tree outside.

IMG_1795

They are slowly falling and I told my husband that when the last leaf falls . . . well . . .

For a more dramatic version, go here. 

NaNoWriMo Prep: Turn everything i see into a horrible story.

2. Making bottles of grape juice that we may never drink because I want them to be bottles of jelly but two of our burners don’t work and I’ve never made jelly so it will probably just be mushy juice but I’m still making juice in hopes of jelly and then when I’m done I am going to say a small prayer that we don’t waste them and somehow find a way. Somehow . . .

IMG_1800

NaNoWriMo Prep: Do it even if I don’t have any idea how I’m going to make it work–no idea how it will end, if it’s any good, or if it’s worth my time and effort. Because if I don’t try at all, all I’ll have is rotten grapes and sad feelings of knowing what could have been. A winter without jelly is a melancholy winter indeed.

3. Feeling good about myself because I planned and worked out an amazing project I was going to do at a craft night (MODGE PODGE!!!!!) for church. Cam was my coach as I prepared for the two hours of intense crafting (which I am the worst at and try to avoid at all costs). He even found me some excellent websites to read up on and study. Here and here. 

And then I actually made the light (with the help of about fifty awesome ladies) and I was feeling pretty proud of the results:

IMG_1789

See how gorgeous that big fat ball is? Just like Pinterest!

But then today:

IMG_1801

Collapsed. Awful. Big huge glue ball with some string on it.

NaNoWriMo Prep: Don’t be sad if what I think is awesome is actually not so awesome. I went through the process. I know how to do it now. I have ideas of what I need to do next time to make it better. Some writers write the entire first draft and then CLICK delete the whole thing and start over. It’s not a failure! It’s a beginning.

And finally

4. Watching this belly grow:

IMG_1803 (1)

This is maybe my best selfie ever. And I take thousands. THOUSANDS I say. I am very far along with this baby (I won’t tell you how far because I have watched Lifetime Network movies many many times). Needless to say, I am gigantic. HUGE. In the best possible way (I keep telling myself).

NaNoWriMo Prep: No research or planning or computer programs beat life itself. Live now and use it later for your books.

That’s all I got! Happy Tuesday.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

And Another Thing!

Still thinking about the writing next month?

Quick questions–are you writing a book NOW, too?

How do you do both?

Set aside time every day for your main WIP. BUT give yourself 15 minutes daily to prepare for next month.

Here’s a little something to work on:

There are a couple of ways to drive a story forward. One is with an intriguing plot. Another is with emotion–a feeling that flows through a novel.

So, I have to back up here. Once my sister stayed a summer with our wonderful grandmother and read romance after romance. My sister wrote me a letter. It went something like this: This afternoon I wandered through the darkened halls of Nanny’s home. The wood reflected my auburn-colored hair, like a fire in a fireplace. When I stepped into freedom, I saw the chiseled jaw of the mailman as he placed letters–love letters–in the mailbox. I ran across the field, grass whipping at my ankles, my gown slipping down my shoulders, revealing a bit of my ample breasts.

Okay–it wasn’t exactly that letter (she was like, 13), but sorta like that. There was a feeling in those Harlequins that Sam conveyed in her letter, making me laugh my guts out.

All our writing should have emotion.

In your 15 minutes today, play around with emotions you hope might be in your novel.

Do this for a few days this month. A quick emotion rush. Do heartbreak, sadness, fear, joy, loathing, love, excitement.

That first glimpse of the villain. That parting kiss from the murderer. That joke from a loved one.

Mix it up.

Have fun!

 

PS Our next get together will be the first week of December to talk about NaNo!

2 Comments

Filed under Character, Chris, Life, Plot, writing process

Pushing Ahead

by Lisa Sledge

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. I don’t think I’ll be joining the chaos this year—too much of that in my life already! Instead I’m focusing on finishing the rewrite of my WIP and making sure it’s submission ready. I’ve never queried a novel before.

And that’s scary enough.

Speaking of scary, there’s been a lot of discussion here about our writerly fears. I think deep down we’re all a bunch of chicken-livered scaredy-pants. But we’re also freaking awesome because we put our writing out there for the world to see anyway. Doing something in spite of how bad it scares you is the definition of bravery.

What do you do when you’re afraid? When you feel tempted to listen to the nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you your writing stinks worse than the leftovers molding in your refrigerator?

Here’s a brief list of ideas on how to distract yourself from your fears:

Call a writing friend and go out for ice cream.
Watch a really bad movie and laugh at it. Ever seen the movie Troll 2? It’s one of the greatest low budget scary movies of all time. Watch it with friends and lots of chocolate. Your sides will hurt from laughing.
Reread all the best parts of your favorite book.
Get dressed up to write. Do your hair, your make-up, and put on your best outfit. Then get to work. Writing in pjs is great, but sometimes it feels good to mix things up.
Go on a walk or a jog before writing. Visit the gym. Do something to get your blood pumping.
Turn up the volume to your favorite song and sing along.
Take a deep breath, sit your butt down, and get the job done. Remind yourself that you’ll have all the time you need to go back and fix it up later.

What are your favorite tricks for pushing ahead?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Three Things Thursday

Brenda
I’ve been studying SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder.  It’s supposed to be “the Last Book on Screenwriting that you’ll ever need.” So, I’m going to write a screenplay for NaNoWriMo in November?  Not at all.  But a lot of novelists are giving Snyder’s work a good look because so much of it applies to novel writing as well.
His first suggestion is that, BEFORE you write your script (think novel), you write a good “logline” (think elevator pitch).  A short, pithy something that really explains “What is it?”  Snyder suggests it should contain 4 major elements:  1) irony, 2)a compelling mental picture, 3) an idea of the target audience (and cost of production for a movie), and 4) a “killer title.”
He gives plenty of examples from movies you’d probably know, or at least know OF.  For one: LEGALLY BLONDE.  In just those 2 words, Snyder shows the irony of the blonde ditz going to an upscale university, an immediate reaction to the mental picture of such a woman being in this position which would obviously appeal to a lot of women of  “a certain age” — especially those just younger, the same, or just older than the main character — and the Killer Title, which says so much more than others like “Barbie Goes To Harvard,” “Totally Law School,” or “Airhead Apparent.”
Write a “logline” or SHORT elevator pitch for your current WIP!  How could that help focus your story?
Carol
I’d like to second Brenda’s suggestion above. I always say you should be able to tell what your book is about in 25 words or less. I could do that easily with THE CHOSEN ONE–a 13 yr old girl must decide if she will marry her polygamist uncle or escape the life she knows. That’s 20-ish words. However, when I was working on THE HAVEN, for a long time I couldn’t say what my book was about in 25 words or less. I rambled. It’s this girl. She lives in this place. There’s a secret. And a boy. She has a best friend . . . Made no sense because, for a few years, I didn’t know what I was writing about. And guess what? I couldn’t write it, either. Know what your book is about! It will save you lots of grief!
PS THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE YOU’LL EVER GET HERE ON TUP: I use this 25 word rule with people I am talking to, too. Got a long-winded friend and no time to listen? When they start a story say, “Tell it in 25 words or less.” Got someone who has to tell you about his book and you can see it’ll take ten minutes for him to get it done? Say, “Tell it in 25 words or less.” Maybe DON’T say it to a cop who’s pulled you over. But maybe yes to a cop who’s your pal. Use it with Sunbeams, Laurels, and next door neighbors. Best of all, use it on yourself.
Cheryl

There are hundreds of studies about why people love fairy tales, but the truth is, no one can really know. All we know is that some stories stay with us and are passed down to our children and our children’s children.

What’s important to us as writers is analyzing the aspects of fairy tales that we love most.

For me, I love the idea of falling in love with the person you were meant to be with all along. Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty fits this, as does Shannon Hale’s GOOSE GIRL.

I don’t find it romantic when you have to fight the world to be together. I don’t want the people I love most to despise the person I’m with. I want to believe that my family and friends love me and know me well enough to be able to pick the man I love out of a line-up, without me telling them. That’s why the ending of ROMEO AND JULIET works for me, because when you have to fight everyone for your “true” love (and after a week, was it really love?) everyone ends up miserable.

What about you? Which fairy tales work for you? Which fall flat?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Do you ever doubt yourself….

Do you ever doubt yourself as a WRITER?!

I do.

I have been.

A lot, actually.

But then I decided, why don’t I ponder the things that make me a writer? Not just a pretend writer, like I’ve been acting like I am for the last million years, but like a reallllll writer.

Okay. So pondering, pondering.

For one, I am broke. And not just broke. . . I am flat *bleeping* broke. And let’s be honest guys, most real writers are broke at least once or twice in their lives. {And most everyone else in the world as well. But forget that for a moment}

Insomnia. Isn’t that a writer thing? It’s totally a writer thing.

I have no ideas, yet I have a million ideas. Ideas that won’t shut up. And also ideas that freak me out, even though I know they need to get on the page. Eventually.

I have a few rejection letters {Finally!} and also….They are GOOD rejection letters. Holy crap, right? Totally real writer status.

I have a shit-ton to complain about. No, seriously. Writers complain. And that’s why we are amazing.

My favorite thing that makes me at least *feel* like a real writer is my amazing, wonderful, classy, great, fantastic, agent. We’ve only been best friends for a few months, but he already knows what to say to make me feel good. He knows what to say to make me feel like a writer.
I love him.

But I also love Mom and Ann Dee and her baby that I haven’t met yet, and I am still crossing my fingers is named KyraLeigh.

I also love all my writer friends. Even if you don’t do, or believe, all that crap I’ve written above, if you’re writing, you’re a real writer.

2 Comments

Filed under Agents, Depression, Kyra, Life, Publication, writing process

Golden Hikes

Here are some things that will help your writing:

1. Writing.

2. Reading.

3. Friends who write.

4. Hiking (right now. on the timp trail. by yourself. with the possibility of getting eaten by bears. in the most glorious setting possible).

5. Writing.

6. Eating chocolate chips with peanut butter.

7. Reading this. 

8. Writing.

9. Giving yourself a break.

10. Trying different genres.

11. Writing a short story RIGHT NOW. Write one. Send it to us. Practice. Maybe we’ll post it.

12. Trying one of these. 

13. Coming to clean my house and/or taking me to Bombay House.

14. Planning for Nanowrimo.

15. Being brave.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday, Monday

Ann Dee and I have only the end of our book to write.

This has been a fun experience for me. Ann Dee is smart, fast and a natural writer. She knows so much. “What about plot?” she says. “Oh, don’t worry,” I say. “Is it moving too fast,” she asks.  “Fast, schmast,” I say. “Should we develop these characters more?” she asks. “Of course. Later,” I say.

My goal is to finish the rewrite this month so we can have it to our agents before November rolls around. Ann Dee’s goal is to have a baby.

And also, there is the move.

Again. But the last move, I hope. This also needs to be complete before the end of the month. I kinda feel like I’m gonna fail on this.

So much to do! I even get to teach in church.

Of course, we can’t forget about NaNoWriMo.

October 6 and October 9 have the first three exercises for you.

Here are two more.

One: PRINT the exercises each time they arrive.

Put them in a notebook. A real, actual, something-you-can-pick-up notebook.

Keep this by your bedside, on in your car when you travel–you know–keep it close by. At night add thoughts, ideas, names, incidents that might work for the NaNoWriMo. While you’re showering, remember the ideas that come to you and add them to your growing file. This is research, set up and planning to make next month as easy as possible. Believe me, I understand about falling behind on Day One. Yes, every year I have.

Two: Go through this blog. I have no idea how to navigate it but there has to be a way (PS–You can tell us how to find things in here, if you’d like). Every year we have tried to give you more ideas and helps so you can complete the NaNo challenge. Gather those ideas, writing helps and hints into the notebook. As well, there have been several writing marathons where we have lots of starts and ideas and etc to ease the burden, and inspire you, for what’s coming up.

Sheesh, I’m getting excited myself!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under CLW, Exercises, Writing Marathon, writing process