Monday, April 30, 2012

April Update

DaggerHey, everyone! Remember me?

It feels like a long time since I've written a post or visited any blogs, but I can report that I made productive use of my month-long hiatus.  I'm feeling refreshed and ready to socialize again. I can't wait to find out what you've all been up to (besides AtoZing, of course).

Over spring break at the beginning of April, I started a new WIP and wrote 15k words in that week alone! Since then, I've doubled that amount, and it's currently at 33k and going strong.  This story is a pretty big risk for me. It's a contemporary fantasy that has me writing about things like tattoos and daggers and motorcycles (where the heck did all this come from?), and sometimes I doubt I can pull it off.  But so far, every time I complete a chapter, I know what has to happen in the next one.  Hopefully, I can follow this path all the way to the end!

Even getting THE CAGED GRAVES back for a second round of revisions and line editing didn't slow me down much. I completed those revisions (granted, they weren't as intense as the first set) and still kept working on the WIP.  I'm told THE CAGED GRAVES will be on the Clarion Spring 2013 list, so I'm excited to get an estimate of the publication date. Yay!

Besides all the writing, I whipped the landscaping into shape.  Columbines (one of my favorites) are currently in bloom, with the irises not far behind.  I chauffeured The Dread Daughters to play practices, band concerts, and study groups. I watched Season 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead via streaming and got totally hooked.  And um ... yeah, maybe that's it for April.  Not too shabby, eh?

On Wednesday, I'll be kicking off May with First Impressions. See you soon!

Picture of dagger by: Free 2 Be

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plot Blogfest

How do you plot your stories?

Today is Scribble and Edit's Plotting Blogfest.  I thought I would join in, even though I'm sort of on blog "hiatus" and I'm not much of a plotter.  Even when I do write an outline -- as I did with my current WIP -- I tend not to follow it. Something happens when the characters get on the page.  They don't turn out to be the people I expected them to be, and then they won't do the things I expected them to do.  In the end, I usually follow their lead.

So for today's post, I'm going share a day in the life of my WIP -- any WIP!  This little scene was originally posted back in November (First Drafts = Road Trip from Hell), so my apologies if you've read it before.  However, since I am thoroughly engrossed in my newest WIP (currently at 21k), I can adamantly state that the scenario is frighteningly accurate.

Me: (getting into car with a bunch of strangers) Okay, everyone! I realize we don’t know each other very well, but I’m sure we’ll all become good friends as we go. At least we know where we’re headed. (hands paper to the Main Character, riding shotgun.)

Main Character: What’s this?

Me: An outline. Well, a synopsis. More like notes, really. Guidelines. Hang onto them, okay?

Main Character: Sure. No problem. (shoves paper into a crack between the seats)

Me: (pulling out of the driveway) Here we go!

Love Interest: (taps me on the shoulder) What’s with those two in the back? (points a thumb at the third row where two people with blank features sit)

Me: Oh, those are Minor Characters. I don’t know exactly what they do yet, but they’ll develop along the way.

Love Interest: They give me the creeps. Is one of them supposed to be a rival romantic interest?

Me: Maybe. I haven’t decided yet.

Main Character: (pokes me) Turn here. Turn here.

Me: We’re not supposed to turn here.

Main Character: (grabs the wheel) Trust me! Turn here!

Me: Now we’re off course!

Love Interest: I’m hungry. Pull over at that convenience store.

Me: But we only just started! Geez.

(It takes forever for them all to decide what they want, and they keep changing their minds. I go into the store, buy a big bag of junk food, stand in line behind some slow pokes, and finally return to find somebody new in the car.)

Me: Who’s this?

Love Interest: A new character, I think.

Me: (to New Character) Who the heck are you? You're not in my notes.

New Character: You need me.

Me: For what?

New Character: Not sure, really, but I’m important.

Me: (looking in the car and discovering the Main Character in the driver’s seat) What are you doing?!

Main Character: I’m driving. Get in. (throws the car into drive and I barely make it inside before we peel out of the parking lot)

Me: (hanging onto the dashboard) But you don’t know where you’re going!

Main Character: Let’s face it. Neither did you.

Minor Characters: (rummaging through bag) You didn’t get what we asked for. None of this is right. (throwing Cheetos at my head) You don’t know why we’re in the story, and you didn’t get our orders right.

Me: (to Main Character) Hey! Don’t turn there! We can’t go that way! GPS says the road ends up ahead!

Main Character: You probably need to update your GPS. Relax. We’ll be fine.

Love Interest: (to New Character) Wanna make out?

New Character: You bet!

Me: Hey, you two! Cut it out! That’s not supposed to happen!

Main Character: (turning around to look in the backseat) Hell, yeah! If anybody gets to make out, it ought to be me!

Minor Characters: (pointing straight ahead and shouting around mouthfuls of Fritos) Look out!


(A shocked silence falls over the car.)

Me: We’re in a ditch.

Main Character: Um, yeah. Kind of.

Love Interest: (straightens shirt, looks at me, worried) But you can get us out of here, right?

Me: Oh, now I’m in charge again? Okay, everybody out and PUSH!

(And that’s just the first day …)

So, how about you? Would you tolerate this kind of chaos in your first draft? Or do you have it all plotted out? :D

Visit other participants in the Plotting Blogfest HERE.

I'm still on official blogging hiatus until May (other than this post), so I'll see you again on Wednesday, May 2 with the first of three awesome First Impressions!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Au Revoir

No, this isn't my entry of A for the blogfest!

Since I'm not participating in the AtoZ Blogfest, I thought this would be a good month to take a hiatus from posting.  I will be here for the PlotFest on April 17th, however, which is supposed to correspond to the Letter P.  Click HERE to sign up.

I may still swing by your blogs to say hello.  I'll miss you too much to stay away from the blogging world completely.

And I am looking for THREE participants to share the first pages of their WIPs for May's FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  This is open to anybody looking for feedback, whether you're working on a first draft or polishing your manuscript in preparation for querying.  If you're interested, please see the instructions on the sidebar.

I'll also continue to host The Practice Room every Monday night:  Check-in starts at 7:30pm EST, with dedicated writing time from 8-9pm, followed by a chat at 9:00.  If you're looking to commit yourself to a writing block at least once a week, and if you want to chat with other writers about your progress, please check us out. (Contact me by email if you want more information.)  I can't tell you how often our weekly chat has helped me work out a plot issue, and I hope I've helped others the same way.

So, for now -- Au Revoir -- enjoy the AtoZ Challenge -- and see you on April 17th.