Friday, March 30, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Note: This is a duplicate post from tessgrant.wordpress.com
This was supposed to be a post on the forensic interpretation of werewolf kills. However, it has been preempted by news of the most exciting kind.
KITTY HAS ARRIVED.
Yes indeed, Kitty Irish, Daniel Phinney, and a host of werewolves that have been hanging around with me, the family, and my critique group for several years has now hit the shelves.
I’m so excited I can’t see straight! Thanks for sharing the ride with me.
Kitty Irish has heard all the rumors swirling around Daniel Phinney. Most of them involve a gun, a flask, and a temper. One chance encounter with the WWII veteran over a grisly find in the woods pulls the cover off the dark secrets of their small town, and Kitty is drawn into an unlikely partnership. Armed with an antique rifle and a handful of homemade silver bullets, the two form an efficient team. Unfortunately, their game is werewolf hunting, and disaster is only a bite away.
P.S. Don’t forget to check back at tessgrant.wordpress.com next week for the werewolf kill post…it’s gripping…and comes with photos.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I know, you're probably thinking, how could writing too many books be a bad thing?
The problem is I got burned out.
And now I'm having trouble making forward progress on anything more complicated than a grocery list. And some days, even that's a bit taxing. I'm sure it'll pass. I'm sure I'll get my writing mojo back. I certainly hope so, anyway. I've got contracts to fulfill.
It's not that the ideas aren't there. They're rattling around constantly, but when I look at that cursor, everything vanishes from my head. I've tried changing location. I've tried writing longhand. I've tried writing something not related to what I'm supposed to be writing. I've journaled, talked to friends and thrown things in fits of frustration, but the word could has remained the same.
I apologize for the whiny, self-indulgent nature of this post, but I do want to remind anyone who might be reading this not to kill yourself and your creativity trying to build a backlist too quickly. Find joy in the creation of your stories. Don't lose sight of all the things that drew you to writing in the first place.
And I'll try to do the same.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Since the season is over, I decided I would sit down and watch it all at once, in my own little marathon. When I did this, a strange thing happened. The show no longer seemed drawn out and pointlessly slow. It was gripping and action packed. The long, zombieless weeks of pointless talking and emotional scenes- sans zombies, the real draw of the show- vanished in a haze of, "Wow, this story is moving so fast!"
This made me think about all the books I've recently abandoned in the reading funk that has been plaguing me lately. I dropped most of them because it seemed like the plot was taking forever. Maybe it was just taking me, a notoriously slow reader, forever to read them. Then, I started thinking about my books, and how to avoid falling into the same trap of the seemingly slow moving plot. I want readers to sit down with one of my books and read it for as long as I can hook them, just like I'm willing to spend twelve solid hours with Camp Dinner Bell on The Walking Dead. I don't want my readers to read a chapter and sprint to the internet to complain about how nothing happened (and if you've ever been on GoodReads.com, you know that readers do exactly that). This is what I came up with:
1. Make your chapters shorter. It stands to reason that if you have a three page chapter, a reader is going to be more likely to keep going and read the next chapter, and the next. After all, it's only three more pages, right? I know that has tricked me more than once into a nightlong reading session. But when you reach the end of a ten, fifteen, or thirty page chapter, you're less likely to commit to another long stretch.
2. Always end on a hook. If your chapters wrap up a section of the story in a natural stopping point, guess what the reader is going to do? They're going to stop. You have to draw out tension of some kind, and promise the resolution in the next chapter. Whether or not you do resolve it then is up to you, but the point is, you have to give the reader incentive, they have to have that bone on the string hanging in front of them so they won't put your book down.
3. Don't end chapters with people going to sleep. I am so guilty of this, because 1) I love to sleep. 2) and I admit it, sometimes I just don't know how to end a scene. This is the single dumbest thing I, or any other writer, could possibly do, and yet it happens, all the time. When a reader is reading that book, be it at noon or three in the morning, they're going to get to the part where the characters go to sleep and subconsciously say, "Well, they're not going to be doing anything for a while." So, they'll set that book down and give your characters time to sleep. It's not a conscious thought, but it totally happens.
4. Cut out anything unnecessary. Every line of dialogue, every action, should be absolutely necessary to the plot. We don't care what your heroine makes for breakfast, and how, unless later we find out that breakfast was poisoned. There's no reason to show readers a bunch of stuff they never asked about, don't want to read about, and won't have any future payoff. I'm going to forever refer to this rule as "Zombie in the well." If you watch The Walking Dead, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't, suffice it to say that you don't want zombies in your well, taking up precious story telling time when it has nothing to do with the story. Readers don't want that, either.
These are just a few tips, but they were churning in my brain today. I hope they help you out!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Start with a couple of sentences from one of my unpublished works. How could I have written it faster? Not better, or tighter, but faster?
Friday, March 16, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
1. Follow my plan of giving my body good stuff to eat and drink
2. Spend according to budget
3. Workout – both aerobic and strengthening
5. Write 20 minutes a day
6. 96 oz water throughout the day
7. Golden Hour (read 10 pages of a good book, review goals, review day and plan for the next day)
8. Review with my son (school work etc.)
These behaviors all are important to me and yet, it’s amazing how many other things I do that don’t support these actions. Why am I bothering with all this? I’m at the point that if I say something is important I want to make it happen. Or else – just let it go. Or perhaps – just put it on the back burner for awhile so I don’t feel the burden of guilt.
After a couple weeks of tracking, I’m back on track (so to speak) with my budget, exercise, water and reviewing with my son. Golden Hour is hit or miss, depending on how tired I am at the end of the day, yet I know how much more focused I am when I stick with it.
Getting into the rhythm of these daily actions made me realize something else. I’m not looking to achieve perfection the first day. I feel like I’m learning a new dance. The basic steps are coming easier and I’m adding in new twists and turns as I go. When I review my day, I’m not looking for self-judgment or guilt, rather it’s important for me to focus on making adjustments.
These aren’t my originals ideas. I just finished the book, The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy. In his opening chapters he gives several profound examples of people who made small daily changes – for both better and worse – and where they ended up months and years later. I decided I wanted to make the small daily changes for the better. I’ll see where I end up a year from now!
“The rhythm of daily action aligned with your goals creates the momentum that separates dreamers from super-achievers.” ~ Darren Hardy (www.TheCompoundEffect.com)
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
So here's the first installment!
Yahoo Personals Brings Out the Real Yahoos!
I posted my first online personal ad well over 15 years ago. Wow! I was totally excited that there were now places that allowed you to post an online personal ad for free! Free being the optional word. I posted a cute little write-up and one of my best photos. Imagine my delight when actual men started replying to my ad.
Bachelor number One. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll call him John. John looked good on paper. Then again, they all pretty much do. He had a decent photo. The occupation he had listed was nice too. I met up with John at a restaurant in the Easttown area of Grand Rapids. John wasn’t a bad guy. He was friendly. He had a bit of stuttering problem. Maybe he was just nervous. I don’t know. However, when it came to pay the bill, John admitted he had no money to pay for his meal. Sure his bill was less than five dollars, but still! I was pretty much put off by the whole situation.
The next day John calls me. Here’s pretty much how the conversation went:
JOHN: I...s...s Si...d...d...n...n...ey th...th..th...ere?
(I guess the stuttering wasn’t a nervous thing after all.)
ME: This is her.
JOHN: Hi. I h...had a g..g..ood time with y..ou y…y…est…er..d…day a…a..nd w…w..an...ted to a..a..sk y…y…ou s..s..ome…th…thing.
JOHN: Wh...wh...en c…c…an w…w…e h...h…h...ave s…s…sex?
SERIOUSLY??? We had one date where I was forced to pay your bill and you think I want to have sex with you? Who do you think you are, the American Gigolo? Those were the thoughts (among others that are too inappropriate to say here) swirling in my head. I can’t believe I managed not to go off on this guy. I politely said I wasn’t that type of girl and didn’t think we’d work out. John then said if I changed my mind, I could call him. I think I permanently burned his number from my brain.
NOTE: Had this guy not so blatantly asked me to have sex with him and just asked me out on a second date, I might have given him a second shot. As I mentioned earlier, he seemed nice and friendly. But apparently beneath his quiet and friendly facade, was a real freak. I do wish him success in his quest for sex.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Before I moved to my current abode, I never had my own office, a place I could write and outfit as my own. When after a year and a half of having my own office I had to give it up for a roommate, it became apparent that my own space is needed. I have friends who don't have offices, they have a specific spot or spots in the house that is their 'office' and they're very successful. So, an office isn't necessary for writing, but space specific to writing seems to be. I'm in the process of reclaiming my office. There are books and photos and knickknacks everywhere. Not everything is where I want it or is even visible, but it is a great space to write in.
Reclaiming or claiming a space to write in is important for all writers. Whether it's a completely decked out office or an easy chair in the living room, space to write is important. So is time. Finding time is more difficult to carve out than space. Finding time requires taking personal, private time that has no outwardly productive value as it can be measured. It doesn't produce clothes, food, quilts, or blankets. It produces part of a story and over time an entire story that may or may not be picked up for publication by a house. Heck, it may not even be submitted to a house. I have a friend who is a rather prolific writer - she hit 115K DURING NANO - each of the last two years running. Research and plots up until October 31st and starts writing on November 1st, but she has no intention of seeking publication - and she's good. She just refuses to submit anything. But regardless of the destination of a story, in order to write, one must not only make time, but also accept the fact that it is actually okay to take time for one's self in order to do something that may be as necessary as breathing.
There is an argument that one can only write when the muse strikes, however, the counter argument that discipline leads to an increase in creativity is also a valid one. Waiting until you feel the desire/need to write may mean waiting years to write because of stress, life, or other complications. Scheduling time to write every day and writing every day may mean, that yes, you have to throw out 3/4's of what you wrote, but it's still at least 1/4 more than you had before. And it's possible that some of that stuff that was thrown away is salvageable and useable elsewhere.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Well, I was hoping to say that my word count improved each week, but when I just checked my numbers, I realized that wasn't quite true. In the first week, I cranked out 8305 words by writing 6 days. During the second week, I only had 3 writing days, but I managed to produce 5223 words. Week three started out strong, but the last two days were low, producing a weekly count of 7602.
So with one week left to go, I have finished 21130 words with only 10870 words left to go. Writing 2174 a day for 5 days will have me completing the challenge. As long as I am able to maintain consistency with my output, I should be able to finish on time. Yay!
Sorry this wasn't more exciting...gotta save the good stuff for NaNo!!! :D
Friday, March 2, 2012
Since I just finished a book yesterday and got it off to my editor and I'm officially brain dead, I'm having a hard time coming up with something meaningful to blog about. Then it occurred to me, My first hardback book from Resplendence Publishing has just come out. It a collection of the first three books under the Pirate Booty Series. It covers a female pirate who aspires to be a lady, a French bride who chooses a handsome pirate lover over an aging aristocratic and last, but not least about a female pirate who finds herself wed to an American Privateer who loves another woman.
This is only the first of my hardback books from Resplendence. Later in the year another trilogy will be published under the title From The Sea, about three Irish women whose lives are changed by three men of the sea. I've just finished the second book in my second pirate trilogy and they were great fun to write.
So as I watch spring approach, measuring its coming by the birds at the feeder outside my window, I feel a great anticipation when I can grub around in the dirt again and sit on the patio and watch the boats go by on the lake or take myself down to the swing right by the shoreline and plop down with a pillow and a book. All this may sound idyllic and it is, but always there's the nagging need to go get some work done or another page written toward my deadline, errands to run. So, though I look forward to those times, I almost enjoy this time more. This waiting time before the buds burst open, before the birds return and start building their nests, before the ice breaks up on the lake and sends its tinkling message that another season has come. Right now a slight wind is moaning around the corner of the house, making me feel snug and cozy inside. My brain is coming alive again and I'm already thinking about the characters in my final pirate book. What great adventure is about to befall them? Spring is coming and I can tell, I'm about to give birth to that next great American novel!!