Friday, May 27, 2011

What the eff is a meme?

Hello my friends!

So, Jenny Phresh (you know, the crazy one with the shopping carts and ponies and hypochondria who also thinks that I'm thought provoking, yes me, she's crazier than I thought) tagged me in this lovely challenge started by Green Woman (not her real name, I know, I'm just as surprised as you are), called Writing is NOT like a Box of Chocolate: A Meme.

After promptly looking up meme to see what that is (here is the link to the wiki reference), I sat around in a dumbfounded state for, oh, three days or so before coming up with this:

Why Writing is like Climbing a Mountain: Or How I learned to Suck it Up and Try Again

It's not very original. OF COURSE writing a novel is like climbing a mountain. Everyone and their mother comes up with THAT metaphor. However, there's a personal experience that I felt would correlate and make it a tad different than maybe what you're thinking.

Here's the story. Last year, on Columbus Day (I work for the government and therefore get weird holiday's off, like Veterans Day and Flag day. Yet I have to work the day after Thanksgiving. Don't ask me, I don't get it) I decided I was going to hike Mt. Rose, the highest summit in my area.

For those of you who don't know, I live in Reno, Nevada. I've heard stories of the amazing view from the top of Mt. Rose, a panoramic that spans the entire Reno/Sparks Valley, and on the other side is the gorgeous Lake Tahoe. So, I thought, hey I have the day off, my kids daycare is open and I can chuck them onto someone else, it's about time I did this.

So I did.

I went with my very good friend, Georgia (www.shortiescandles.com <--shameless plug, her candles are AMAZING, btw) and she was 6 months pregnant at the time (trooper, right?).

It was a beautiful hike. It had snowed recently, and some of it had melted from the summit, creating beautiful waterfalls and streams on the way up. Plus, autumn was in full swing and the greens were turning yellow and red and the whole thing was like a Bob Ross painting (just a little something here and there, happy little trees, etc).

It was also a cloudy day, especially around the mountain, so there were some spooky parts where we were basically walking through the fog and I was convinced a dude with a chainsaw would appear at any moment, but we made it through to the summit in pretty good time.
And this was my "view from the top":





That's right, I climbed a mountain and my reward was...nothing. No breathtaking views, no Tahoe, no anything!

I know what you're thinking, it's an awful story, I should end it with my grandmother coming in and punching me in the face, just to make it more interesting.

And how does it relate to writing?

My first WiP was exactly like this mountain hike. Pretty little trees included. I pranced along, everything was GREAT, I was a GENIUS and the millions of adoring fans and crisp dollars were just waiting at the top of the summit.

And then I got to the top.

And I found out the millions weren't there.

All that awaited me were some realizations (wait, I'm NOT a writing prodigy at the tender age of, oh, THIRTY?!) and a long hike back down.

(And for the record, on the way down the mountain, we were behind this old dude who kept farting! There may be a metaphor there, too.)

Does that mean I'm never going to climb Mt. Rose again?

No.

Does it mean that I'm going to give up writing just because I've got ton of crap to learn still, and miles to go before I sleep?

Hell no.

Sometimes, you have to climb a mountain more than once in order to appreciate the view.

Plus the way up, although grueling at times, is also exhilarating and amazing. And that goes for both writing and climbing a mountain.

(Also, I've made plans already to hike Mt. Rose again in June so SUCK IT CLOUDS!)

(Also, I think I made a record on this post for most parentheses used EVER.)

(And CAPS!)

And oh yeah, I'm supposed to tag three people to participate in the MEME challenge, if they so desire.

I'm tagging:

1. Mary Baader Kaley- my lovely of loveliest beta's who disappears from the web for two days and sends me into panic attacks, who will come up with something just as lovely as she is, for sure.

2. Bethany C - my erstwhile lov-ah (we sit in hot tubs eating spiced meat from this here igloo cool-ah - anyone who gets that reference gets a big sloppy KISS!) who I am sure will come up with something both funny and poignant (no pressure, or anything).

3. Joyce Alton - a new blogging buddy (who has a wonderful and informative blog) and I can't wait to see her thoughts!

Now go forth and be brilliant!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Writing the LOVE, baby

Before we talk about writing romance, a word from Bret and Jermaine to get you in the mood...





Now that you're all ready, (and hopefully wearing nothing but socks) there are some important things you need to know before you start writing romance, or including a romantic subplot into your novel. Which I highly recommend at least having a romantic slant to your fiction because let's face it people, romance sells as I pointed out in this blog post here.

The number one best ingredient/tip/nonsense I can give you about creating tension of the romantic kind between two characters is this: they have to be aware of each other.

Not just, "Oh, yeah, there's that dude and he's hot" awareness. No, no, no, my friends. Your love interests need to be hyper aware of each other.

I touched on how important it is to have a self-aware character here. But when you're making busy with the romance, your character needs to be more aware of their soon-to-be-significant-other than of any other character.

Even if they don't like them at first. And they need to let the reader in on what they're thinking or realizing about that person as they get it. We (the readers) need to watch them fall in love. So you (the writer) need to make each scene between them count.

Keeping that in mind, the quickest way to make the sexual tension disappear (like a bottle of wine in my house) is to have the characters admit their feelings too early in the story. They need to be unsure of each other and play off of each other's uncertainty to keep the reader on edge and turning pages.

Sexual tension = unsatisfied attraction.

Make sure there's a good reason they can't get together right away, and at the same time put them in a situation where they are pretty much forced to be around each other a lot (i.e. they each need something that the other has or can provide).

It's not easy, but I know you can do it!

Now get down to business.
(and good luck!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Story Structure Poster That Will Make You Take Off Your Pants and Do the Cha Cha!

Found this over at storyfix.com, poster created by Rachel Savage.

Enjoy!



ACK! It's not big enough (that's what she said)! And I can't get it any bigger! Perhaps I should order one of those contraptions they feature on late night TV that will increase it's inches?

Or, I can just give you a link so you can download it yourself, if you so desire.

After you click it, scroll down a bit and there's a link to a PDF file.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why (Good) Writers Are Like Moths

They stupidly fling themselves into light fixtures (bonk bonk bonk) and eat holes in your clothes!

Hmm. Maybe that's just me after too many martini's.

I've been watching "Lost" on Netflix. Never watched it before (yes, I'm a little behind the times, I realize).

Episode seven is appropriately titled "The Moth". One of the characters, Charlie - heroine addict and former rock band member (who was also a hobbit) - is running low on his stash. Being trapped on an island apparently makes it difficult to get in touch with ones dealer. Another character, Locke - very wise sage like person - takes Charlie's drugs from him, and when Charlie asks for them back he shows him a moth cocoon.

The cocoon is made of a very durable material, thereby making the moth struggle to break free once it has metamorphasized (is that a word?). But the struggle serves a purpose. Without the struggle, the moths survival would be limited. It would not be strong enough to live in the real world. The effort to break free is what makes it strong and able to survive.

So are you, little writer, struggling to put words on a page. Struggling to make it through fifty to one hundred thousand plus words in a rough draft. Struggling to revise and turn it into something saleable. Struggling to write a query that doesn't completely suck. Struggling to find a perfect match (i.e. agent). And then publisher. And then doing it all over again if it doesn't work the first time. Or the second. Or the third.

And yeah, it kinda sucks sometimes. And other times it's a rush (like you're the junkie or something). And it can be hard.

But, my friends, it's worth it.

The struggle will turn you into a strong moth and you will survive in the reality of the publishing world and thrive in a way that would have been impossible had the journey been easy.

So keep up the struggle, my friends, because it's a jungle out there and only the strong survive.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Things I wish I had (in 55 words)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a needy person.  Not, “I need someone to hold me,” kinda way. More, “I want that, why not me,” kinda way. I have blog envy (their background is so much better than mine!), and reader envy (why can't I dream of sparkly vampires?) Here’s more things I want.
Finally! Something that might stave off the needy husband.
Whom I love, but come on, buddy, I'm tired!




Wait a sec...What-is that a PURPLE light saber?!? Yes, yes it is.


Mr. Darcy in a wet T-shirt? Who DOESN'T want that?




I want to be in a boy band.
I think this one could actually happen for me because I have the figure of a 12 year old boy.





Chewie
Okay, now this one should be self explanatory.
(I think I saw this guy once at a music festival! He was playing a djembe...)


[green2.jpg]
And finally, all this tomfoolery was brought to you by the illustrious, green, slightly depraved but very funny Jenny Phresh.  No, I don't want her (maybe just a little..ssshhhh) but I do want a picture of myself
covered in paint. Preferably purple paint. Holding a light saber.
I may not be as clever as Bethany C. but at least I can figure out how to put in captions!
(HA! See ya round the cell block Rookie Riter!)


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I'm up! (And my lovely no-longer-the-spawn-of-satan daughter slept in until 6!! Which is way better than the 5 am wakings she has been doing lately).

I really loved all of the comments and I didn't comment in the comment box because I was afraid I would confuse myself about the number of entries (I'm special like that, ok?).

Mary: Your comment is great, because I remember this one time I got this e-mail from this lady with a super awesome name, and it said, "Saw your "ad" on KidLit. I'm running an online critique forum..." ;) (Yes, I still have your e-mail, I save EVERYTHING!)

Anita: I recently read Stephen King's book as well, and really enjoyed it. I also love Jack Bickham who talks a lot about "suspending disbelief" and that's definately an important thing to remember while writing! It's so easy to get sucked in and forget the big picture.

Amber: Hey, thanks for stopping by! And I totally get what you're saying. For awhile I thought I was going crazy (who are these voices in my head?!) but you are absolutely right that your characters are a part of you. I think about writing "in character" sort of like acting. You have to get into character to be able to understand where that character intends to go. If you've ever done any acting, it helps!

Sophia: Hey! Stopped by your blog earlier in the week. I love that quote, "Don't get it right, just get it written." I, too, keep that as a mantra during my first drafting sludge and have it in one of my word files for reference if I seem to be forgetting (which happens. A LOT!)

Krista: Thank you so much for the blog award! I am going to have to do a whole other blog post for some of these awards! It's madness, I tell you! I think entering a scene late and leaving early is a great tip, helps cut out the fluff and up the pace.

Bethany: Where do I find these other writers who can't write to save their lives? Do you know any? Because I really feel like all my writer friends are way better than me, and it totally sucks. Also, I am not striving for knighthood, but an honorary degree from somewhere would be nice, if you know anyone.

Jenny: You always have such great tips on changing it up!  Like starting with the ending, writing the query first, and now giving away the big secret in the beginning? Now I have to think about it...(curse you and your making-me-think-too-much ways!)

And now, the moment you have been waiting for...winner was selected using a super secret complex voting system, second only to Florida (or, you know, a random number generator I found on the internet).


The Winner Is:

MARY BAADER KALEY! *throws confetti at you*

I will be stalking you on twitter momentarily to let you know!

Thanks everyone for participating!

Coming up soon: a blog post in 55 words!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lookie here! YOU could be the next big winner!

It's not money. Don't get too keyed up.

Okay, before we get to the super thrilling chance to WIN A BOOK!
(nothing makes me more excited, except maybe Colin Firth),
you have to see this.

I found it on thinkgeek.com (it's like my homeland)



That, my friends, is canned unicorn meat. Glitter in every bite.
You'll be pooping rainbows for days.
But, alas, I'm not giving away unicorn meat (not today, anyways), today I am giving away a brand new sparkling copy of...



Beginnings, Middles and Ends by Nancy Kress!!



I've read it twice. It's amazing. You won't poop rainbows, but your MS or WiP will benefit, no doubt.

And winning is easy!

All you have to do is tell me in the comments your best, most favorite, most AH HA! writing tip. Maybe it's something you've read somewhere that stuck with you, maybe it's an inspirational quote,
maybe it's something that hit you upside the head like a giant can of unicorn meat.
Whatever, just learn us all something good, okay?

Entries accepted beginning NOW, and you have until
Saturday morning to comment.
Winner will be chosen randomly and announced whenever I wake up and decide to roll out of bed on Saturday.
(which is unfortunately early because my daughter is the spawn of satan.)

Good luck!