Getting to Know You

Friday, March 25, 2011
I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who stopped by to critique my first 250 words of Shimmering Angels. I feel like every piece of input helped me polish it up a little more.

In Friday news, I am currently writing my fingers to the bone. For the first time in a long time I'm trying my hand at a short story and I'm really loving my MC's voice. She's driving me forward, hinting at her personality and her flaws, but right now I'm missing her goals. I could go with something easy, like she just wants to be normal, but I'm digging deeper. There's something inside her that she doesn't even know she wants yet.

Where am I going with this, you ask?

If you're a writer, you've probably heard this combination before: Goal, Motivation, Conflict. This threesome and I are no strangers.

Goals. To truly understand your characters you have to know what they want so desperately--and what they're willing to sacrifice for it. And to write a great book, you have to test these theories, strip away everything your characters hold dear, and flip their world on its ear.

Motivation. Understand why your character wants this, and show--not tell us about--it. Why does your thirty year old villain still suck his thumb when things don't go his way? Could it hint to a tramatic childhood event? Or could he simply enjoy making his rivals think this? Use this strange action to throw your hero off, or create empathy?

Conflict. Now that you know what your character wants and why they want it, twist the knife. Your hero and heroin have a strategic plan in place. Why let everything go smoothly when it's so much more fun to throw a wrench in the cogs? Add a little conflict. The villain knows your hero and heroin are coming and has his own trap ready. Or maybe hero plans to express his feelings to heroin, but heroin (thanks to her own goals and motivations) tells hero she's been lying to him and instead of just wanting villain dead, she needs to reclaim her husband's soul which is lost somewhere inside the villain's hideout.

Now we're getting somewhere. See what I mean about conflict adding more?

Now I'm off to create my own conflict.

Writing Isn't Cake (but I do love cake)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
While I would love to be sitting in my office telling you all writing is the easiest thing I've ever done. But we all know that isn't true. Writing is hard, hard work. But anything worth doing is hard.

I love this job. Yes, even where I stand now, unagented and struggling to be better at what I do. Because when I do land a dream agent, I want to be able to share with them my very best. And I'd like to be able to share that with you all as well. A writer is only as good as their last words. And I'm entering that point where I'm ready to make some new words.

Beginning a new writing project is largely the same as tackling an essay for school. First, you decide on your topic, then you research. I find these two steps difficult. If you choose the wrong project or misdirect your research, you're screwed, right? Not necessarily. When I started with the seeds of this project I brought it in several different directions before I discovered where I really wanted it to go. Even now, with a full and solid outline, I know things may change. And I'm looking forward to it.

Here, this step, somewhere between research and writing is where everything comes to life. I'm picking names, gathering photos and any other visuals I can find, discovering the ideas in my head didn't come close to some of the pieces I'm using for inspiration.

Just like in a school paper, things can change with research. If you find an article with differing opinions, you have to use it. You have the responsibility to show both sides of an argument and prove yours is right, sway opinions. And as a writer, I'm all about swaying opinions. I'm going to show you the deepest, darkest sides of my characters right along with what made me create them. I'm going to put them out there, strip away all their walls, and let you decide how you feel about them. Because ultimately, I will do my best, write the best damn story I can, and let you, the readers, grade me.

A-Z Reading Challenge February Update

Friday, March 4, 2011

As you may (or may not) know I'm participating in an alphabet reading challenge hosted by Steph @ Thoughts of a Book Junkie. And I wanted to share my progress.

This is my first reading challenge, and even though I'm not a book blogger, I am a writer. And as a writer, I read. In fact, I've always loved to read. So this challenge seemed right for me. And so much fun!

A - Assassin Study by Maria V. Snyder
B - (Either: The Body Finder by Kimberly Dertling, Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris, or Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey)
C - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
D - (Either: Devoured by Amanda Marrone and The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine, or Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning)
E - The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
F - Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
G - Going All In by Jess Dee
H - Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey 
I - The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
J - Jonas (Beautiful Dead #1) by Eden Maguire
K - Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
L - Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
M - Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
N - Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
O - Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
P - Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Q - Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan
R - A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix
S - Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
T - This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
U - Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
V - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
W - Wither by Lauren DeStefano
X - XVI by Julia Karr
Y - (Still searching)
Z - (Still searching)

Read in February:
K - Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
H - Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
I - The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
R - A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix

9 down, 17 to go. My favorite this month? It was a tie between Hearts at Stake and A Rush of Wings. Can't wait to see what both series will offer in the future.

Currently Reading:
M - Magic Study
T - This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

So, my question for you guys is, what are you reading? Or what have you read recently that's blown you away?

Welcome and BAM!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
So, my very, very, very generous friend Lesley (check out her fantastic writing blog here) put this new blog together for me (<3 her!) and isn't it beautiful? Note: anything lacking is entirely my fault, not hers.

That said, welcome! My previous Livejournal account will now direct you here. Because, if you couldn't tell by now, this is where I'll be blogging from now on. And I'm so excited!

I wanted to start this new blog off with a bang, and I've been racking my brain to come up with something awesome to do here to announce the move when BAM! an idea came to me. Too bad it had nothing to do with the blog post, or so I thought.
The Idea To End All Ideas came to me early this morning. I've been outlining a new WIP (which already has a title I'm crazy about--which NEVER happens) for weeks now. It's been going slowly because I've been missing a key piece of this puzzle. And today, while deep in research, an idea came. And it grew. It grew so perfectly, all these interesting, unexpected pieces fell into place. So while the outline isn't done, the holes in it have been filled and the ending has been plotted. Yay! Now all I have to do is fill in the middle. Which still makes for a huge task, but not as foreboding as an ending, at least to me. Because now that I know where I'm taking my MC (main character), all I have to do is throw a bunch of obstacles in her way to make her journey that much tougher--and her story that much more interesting.

One other awesome thing came out of this breakthrough: a new bad guy :)

Not bad for a little research gone awry.

Now for you, because I love my readers more than anything, do you have any tips, ideas, or topics you would like to see here on the blog? I'm open to suggestions, and will always give you credit for your ideas :)