Tag Archives: Cheryl Van Eck

Three Thing Thursday

From Cheryl:

 

From Me:

Following the excerpts above, write either place or description that breathes life into your story.

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Three Thing Thursday on THURSDAY!

Cheryl:

I watched an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda recently where he spoke about being invited to the White House to perform years ago.
“Actually,” he told them, “I do have something I’ve been working on. It’s a rap about Alexander Hamilton.”
They all laughed. “Wait,” they said after a moment. “You’re serious?”
Little did they know that the song he sang that night would go viral and lead to him writing a Broadway musical that would be nominated for a record-breaking total of 16 Tony awards.
It reminds me of that quote by Jules Feiffer:
“Artists can color the sky red because they know it’s blue. Those of us who aren’t artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we’re stupid.”
For 7 years, this is what Lin-Manuel Miranda did. He painted the sky red and ignored everyone that called him stupid. “You can’t write a rap song about Alexander Hamilton,” they said.  “It just can’t be done.”
And they were right…until he did it.
What is your red sky? Are you writing it yet? And if not…why?
Me:
So, I am behind on NaNoWriMo, just as I expected I might be. However, this time I’m just going to move ahead. Not panic. Have fun. Write!
Don’t give up if you fall behind.
No matter what, if you try you’ll be that many more words ahead. The first forty pages on a novel is the first forty pages of a novel. 20,000 words is 20,000 words, even if it’s NOT 50,000.
And if you write consistently, no matter the number of words reached, you will begin to make writing a habit.
(Still–I’m headed toward 50,000!)
Good luck!
Me again:
Answer these questions: What is it the stops you from sitting down and writing?
How will you conquer that in a month?

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Three Thing Thursday on Friday. Again.

CHERYL SAYS: I remember the story of a speaker at a conference I attended. She related the tale of a man who had married an incredibly beautiful woman. A few months into the marriage, he came to his mother, feeling like he was at his wit’s end.
“She doesn’t work, she doesn’t cook, she doesn’t clean, she doesn’t do anything, Mom. What should I do?”
His mother responded, “You married her for her looks. Go home and look at her.”
Do you have sentences and paragraphs like this beautiful wife? If they aren’t pulling their weight, you have to cut them loose. Every sentence needs to move the story forward. Never, ever, alter your story to make your prose fit. The story is king. Everything supports the story, or it has to go.
For me, it’s easier to save these little darlings in another folder, telling myself that someday I’ll find a home for them. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. But I know that my story is stronger for having dumped them.
I think part of the reason that it’s so hard to cut these sections stems from fear. What if I never write anything this beautiful again? What if this is the best sentence in the entire novel? What if I’ve already peaked?
Get rid of these thoughts. Every time you write, you become better. You are stronger, you are wiser, and your words will reflect that. Not only will you write something as good as the lost prose, you’ll write something better.
CAROL SAYS: So that idea of planning for NaNo? For sure, I am a pantser. (WordPress wants me to be a panther. My girls want me to be a cougar. But I am a lowly writer who never plans.) It’s hard to plan out what I’m going to write. I just don’t want to. The thought of deciding what goes in chapter one and being smart like Caitlin Shirts?
So here’s what I am doing. A Carol Plan. Easy and not restrictive.
I’m jotting down every idea of what COULD happen in my books.
Everything.
Night before last I couldn’t sleep.
Wrote thought after thought of what could happen to my Wrasseling Gals. The more I thought about it, the more possibilities came to me.
The truth is, I know I won’t make it in NaNo without forethought.
We’ll see if this helps.
AND:
Martine Leavitt‘s YA novel CALVIN has won the Governor General’s Literary Award of Canada in the category of literature for young people.

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Three Thing Thursday on Friday

#1 From Me

Hey, Everyone!

Tonight I have a book signing at The King’s English bookstore in SLC. I’d love to see you there. I’m reading from my novel MESSENGER which was pubbed on the 18th of this month! The gig as at 7:00. And for once, I’m bringing treats! (I am not a treat maker. My cute daughter is going to do this for me.)

#2 From Caitlin Shirts

So NaNoWriMo is right around the corner and WIFYR is playing along. Here’s some of that info, from our WIFYR newsletter: WIFYR will be hosting a reward party! Our group goal is 400,000 words OR, if you’re in the middle of a masterpiece, a second group is editing 2000 pages (8 pages a day per person). All who meet their goals are invited to come to the reward party. Whether your goal is 20,000 words or the full 50,000, or you’re editing 8 pages a day or 15, this month is a good time to reach your goalsClick here to join the group or email us at wifyrdoesnano@gmail.com.

Here are two hints from Caitlin Shirts that helped her succeed in playing the NaNo game.

Prepare for NaNoWriMo

To avoid spending all November staring at a blank screen, I prepare with these two exercises in October.

1. Make an outline.

My NaNoWriMo outline has two purposes. First, it keeps the flow going. If I get writer’s block on Scene 2, I can skip to Scene 3 without losing my word count for the day. Second, it helps me write with more focus. NaNoWriMo drafts tend to have long meandering sections that are destined to be cut in the next draft. If I know where my character is at the beginning of a scene and I can write straight to where that character needs to be at the end, less is wasted.

A detailed 25-page outline gives you a sneaky head start on your word count, but anything that gives you direction will work. Last year, my outline was a bunch of Post-It notes, each with an event in the story, arranged in roughly the order I wanted those events to happen.

2. Set a personal backup goal.

Last year, I wrote 55,000 words during NaNoWriMo. To be honest, the main reason I surpassed the goal was not that I started with an outline. The main reason was that I have no children. Whatever your responsibilities, 50,000 words is hard. If you hit November 15 and realize there is no human way to get to 50,000 words, it’s easy to give up. A personal backup goal gives me a reason to keep going. Set your goal to support the reason you chose to participate in NaNoWriMo. If you want to get in the habit of writing daily, set a personal goal to write 200 words a day without missing a day. No matter how busy you get, 200 words is not overwhelming, and at least you’ll open the manuscript. If you want to experience the social support of NaNoWriMo, but you know you’ll be too busy to write during Thanksgiving weekend, give yourself a pro-rated word count as your personal goal. A backup goal could be to write more words than your sister, or to reach a certain part of your plot, or to promise that if you fail to reach 50,000 words, you’ll throw yourself a PersonalNoWriMo in February when your life is less hectic.

Also, remember: Nobody cares if you cheat a little, as long as you get out of NaNoWriMo what you want to get out of it.

#3 From Cheryl Van Eck

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Three Thing Thursday

Carol:

Ann Dee and I are teaching together on  Saturday at an event that’s raising money to buy bookshelves for the Rick Walton Library in St George. $99 buys you a small 2.5 hour class with two writing teachers, keynote addresses from Shannon Hale and Ally Condie plus other stuff.

There might be room left, if you are interested.

 

Cheryl:

One thing that I love to do when I’m depressed is to make my characters miserable.

It’s important for characters to be miserable. Their lives should be filled with problems that seem like they can never be fixed. Readers need to be worried, terrified even, that we’re going to kill off (or at least seriously maim) someone they’ve grown to love.
The reason it makes me feel better is that I have the larger perspective. This misery that I’m putting my character through isn’t going to last forever. Maybe there will be some lasting damage, sure. But overall, it’s going to be okay. I know that the cavalry is riding in at breakneck speed. I know the misunderstandings that led to the problem sounding worse than it really is. And most importantly, I know that in the end the character will be at peace. I love my characters more than any reader ever will, and I won’t let them down. I will always make sure they get the ending they were always meant to have, even if it’s not the perfect one that they envisioned.
Doing this soothes me. My life isn’t perfect. Most of the time, it’s a mess. But that’s okay. Because like my characters, I’m not at the end of my story. And I trust that at the end of my story, there will be a resolution. Not a perfect one, to be sure, but a resolution nonetheless.

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Three Thing Thursday

Cheryl:

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Three Things Thursday

Carol

I can’t decide if this is Three Thing Thursday or Three Things Thursday.

What do you think?

 

 

Cheryl

My latest idea in character development is using the 36 “love questions” to understand my characters better. You may have heard about this experiment in articles such as this one: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/modern-love-to-fall-in-love-with-anyone-do-this.html?referer=

Basically, the experiment was to take two strangers and have them ask each other increasingly personal questions, then at the end, have them stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The developer believes that by doing this, he can make anyone fall in love.
Now, of course, there isn’t a particularly high marriage rate as a result, but most who participated reported feeling a deep personal connection to the other person. I would guess that this is because we often have superficial relationships and therefore judge each other on easily measurable criteria…looks, charm, wit, etc. But when we learn about the trials and struggles of another person, we realize how similar they are to us.
So, back to our characters. I answered these questions for both of my main characters. And what I discovered was that not only did I grow to love and respect them, but I realized what it was that they loved about each other.

 

 

Brenda

Once in a while, if I’m “down” on myself about writing, I need advice, encouragement and perhaps a good laugh, from other writers. Just in case you need some encouragement, here are wise words from a few writers:
Adele Malott: “Writing is a job as much as an art. It can be a fun job, but if you have chosen writing as a profession, you must work at it by trying to learn something new each day, by attending seminars, by reading good writing, by using what you learn.”
Anne McCaffrey: “I wish someone had told me to stop trying to make myself the heroine of a highly unrealistic and, I’m sure, ridiculous gothic fantasy.”
Barbara Kingsolver: “There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now.”
Thomas F. Monteleone: “Finish every project (even if it’s a dog — perfecting the habit of discipline to complete projects is most important.”
Celeste De Blasis: “Be prepared for the postpartum depression that comes after finishing a book. I’d thought all I wanted to do was complete the story, but when I did, I felt so sad and lost that I thought I was going crazy. Now I understand that it’s just part of the process and is probably as much physical as mental — the letdown after a long period of living on tightly wound nerves and adrenaline.”

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