Doubt, Fiction, Novel, Short story, Writing

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and I’m not blue!

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about what I was writing until I’d written it, but, like all fiction writers, I lie. I won’t go into detail though. The title of this post says enough. After months of wrapping myself in rope after rope of “shoulds”, I ended up so tightly bound I couldn’t write at all.

What happened to my plan to write more short stories for a collection? Well, critique comments pointing out things you “can’t do in short fiction”, depressed me. I see now that half the stories I’d written are really novel chapters in poor disguise. My lack of higher education has smacked me down. I don’t know the conventions of short fiction, and I don’t want to take the time to learn them—at least, not right now.

But I do have a story to tell, and it’s novel length. In fact, it’s the story I started to tell months ago, before I let my marketer’s brain take over. The story excited me then and it excites me now. I write what I write. It finds the readers it was meant to find. That’s my career plan.

Of course, now that I’m fired up, it’s almost time to take a break for the holidays. Life has a wry sense of humor. I’m not worried though, I’ve lived with this story for a good while. It’s not going anywhere. And PLEASE, if you hear me starting to doubt again, will you kick me?

Do you take a break for the holidays or try to keep your regular writing schedule?

Doubt, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

When your writing is like chocolate …

That post title is a bit of a cheat because I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. I know. It’s hard to believe a woman said that—and a writer even! But if the title had read “When your writing is like potato chips and yellow mustard …” maybe only one of you would have known what I meant.

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw this tweet from me last week: I feel great. Changed POV and tense and managed to add 1,700 words so far today. Then I spread writing fairy dust all around and went back to writing. On that day, writing was like chocolate … or chips and mustard.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably expecting me to add a BUT to that statement as in that was then, this is now. Surprise! I’m still excited about what I’m writing. And get this … I’ll be happy even if I end up changing the POV and tense again. (A real possibility because I found out today that what I’m proposing to do is not the norm.)

What I’m really thrilled about is making the decision to write this particular book. I’ve committed. The two other books I’d started will have to wait their turn. I had doubts about writing this book and I entertained them. I was up and down, back and forth, until I decided the easiest thing to do would be quit writing altogether.

Silly me.

That problem was I’d forgotten to take off my marketing hat. From now, when I open that file, I’m a writer. A WRITER! Marketing be damned.

Craft, Fiction, Novel, Scene, Writing

I’m writing this book like a 4-year-old

So, yeah. I’m writing a new book. It’s still in the early stages. I’m simultaneously doing pre-write planning and roughing out scenes. Plot points zip around at warp speed. Lines of dialogue float like music. Depending on the success of my writing day, narrative clomps or skips or lies down in the middle of the road.

I sit here every day fiddling with both Word and Scrivener because I’m comfortable with the first and trying to learn to use the second. I add a bit on a character sheet, note a fact to research, insert a new plot point into the timeline. I’m waiting.

Eventually, I see some action, I hear the conversation, and I start sketching a scene. He says, she says, he does, she does … oh wait! Before this scene, he would have to do this or that. Okay. So, that scene would go like this: He reads the letter and sinks down at the table, numb. She says, he says, he does, she does …

Ooo, ooo, this is good, she’s suspicious now. And at some point she’s going to confront the other woman and … new scene. She’ll say this, then the other woman will say that, then … wait!

Oh  wow this is great! When she finds out about the other woman, she’s going to freak, she’ll punish him by … yes yes yes! So that scene would go like this …  oh shoot! I forgot about that. Okay, sooooo …

I’ll write a scene where he does this and then …  oh oh oh I forgot to tell you this part … okay so first they went here and then … and then … and then …

Yeah, just like a 4-year-old telling you a story that goes on and on and jumps back and forth and then … and then … and then …

I’m excited about writing. How about you?

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Craft, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Writing

Do you write like a tortoise or a hare?

May was a stressful month for me. The fun and excitement of self-publishing my first novel the month before had worn off, and I was hard at work. I spent the month working daily to promote my book in various ways, which is a requirement for all authors, no matter how their books were published.

All that time, I kept reading how important it is to get my next book ready for publication. The gurus say that the secret to great sales for indie authors is to fill a “shelf” with your books. The more books you have to offer, the more your fans will buy.

In traditional publishing, it usually takes at least a year and a half from the time an editor buys your book to the day it hits the bookstore shelves. That means you have a good amount of time to write and polish your next book. Traditional publishing suits a tortoise writer.

I think self-publishing works best for hares. If true, this is bad news for me. I’m a tortoise. I’m writing again. I’m working on the next book. But it will be awhile before it’s ready to publish. I don’t write fast or I should say, I don’t write well fast.

That frustrated me. In fact, I was so stressed, I couldn’t write at all. I thought the problem stemmed from what I was writing, so I switched to something else—something I thought I could write faster. That only made matters worse. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to write that. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to think about publication for a while.

Now, I’m writing what I want to. This new novel will take a while to be publish-ready. Not as long as The Brevity of Roses did, but it will take several months, at least. This time, the hare will win the race. I’m all right with that. I’ll cross the finish line eventually.

Which kind of writer are you … tortoise or hare?

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Characters, Craft, Fiction, Inspiration, My Books, Novel, Scene, Writing

Writing a novel my way

I’m excited about starting a new novel. I have my “world” set and I’m looking forward to living it in for a while. I’m not a major plotter. I have a vague outline. I’ve envisioned the beginning and ending scenes. I’ve written the opening paragraph and the last two lines of the book. Now I just need to fill in the middle. 🙂

I’ve written some notes, some questions, some character bits. I still need four secondary character names. Sometimes names come easy, obviously not this time, so for now they appear as DAUGHTER, SON, BROTHER, and TEMPTRESS.

At this stage, I spend a lot of my writing time not writing. With my eyes closed, I sit and daydream. Scenes materialize and I watch and listen. Questions arise and I devise the answers. Sometimes the answers change the scene, so I have to shake it like an Etch-A-Sketch and begin again.

The dialogue for a couple of the key scenes is rattling around in my head, so today I’ll write out as much of that as I can.  Writing the dialogue first enables me to visualize the scene, so when I go back to flesh it out, it’s easy to fill in the action and setting details.

When I get stuck, I go clean something until a new scene or more dialogue filters through to me. This is good because when it all comes together and I’m deep into writing, I can ignore dust and grime like you can’t imagine!

How’s life with you? Are you in a productive stage or down time?

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