What is in a name?

A rose by any other word would smell as sweet? Shakespeare asserts it would, but I’m not sure I’m buying that. In fact, I’m pretty sure if a rose was named skunkrot no one would realize it smelled sweet because who wants to smell skunkrot?

Not me.

Hence the problem of no name for my book.

I have no name for my book. According to beta readers it’s awesome. One woman complained she was compelled to continue reading on the airplane home from spring break despite everyone else on the flight sleeping because it was that good.

A book with that sort of press, needs a name worthy of it.

Help me, please.

Set in 1945 London. Main character is an ex Queen Alexandra Royal Military Nurse. She writes a screen play as a ruse to get close to a soldier she thinks she fell in love with while nursing him during the war. Hyjinks ensue. Main character must discover all the things about herself she had no idea were lurking beneath her own skin.

My nano child of yesteryear (2014 to be exact) must see the light of publishing this year and to do so it needs a name for the birth certificate. Give me your suggestions. Off the top of your head. Well thought out. 50 names you would never use for your own book. I don’t care, just comment a suggestion of any sort, I beg of you.

People are strange, when they’re friends

and you’ve asked them to beta read,

people are strange when they are readers,

reading your work that you love, they are straaaannnnge.

I love people who volunteer to beta. Love them. Sometimes I don’t so much like what they say. And not always because it is so true it stings. Sometimes….it’s just….painful. I’ve been thinking a lot about something I heard a panelist say sort of under her breathe to another panelist at Norwescon “There is nothing worse than a beta reader who’s comments are all designed to make your voice as a writer more like their voice.” I don’t think she meant this comment to be heard by everyone but I sure heard it in every sense of the word.

I want to give some beat feedback examples, and I’m going to exaggerate to make the points clear.

-I got feedback once where the reader thought I should remove all the footnotes in my book. Now that is clearly a stylistic choice, one that I embrace. One that plays a seminal role in what defines me as a writer. To remove that flattens my work.

-“It is the worst thing I have ever read.” Really? Fabulous. Why? “It just is.”

This tells the author NOTHING. It is the worst commentary ever. It just is.

Remember when your mother told you if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all? Yeah, try this, if you can’t say something specific, don’t say anything at all.

-“I hate this. It’s horrible.” um, ok, can you tell me why? “I hate spy novels.” or “I hate smut.” or “I hate romance.”

I don’t know about other authors, but I can assure you, I warn every person who is beta reading for me what the novel is about, in general. Don’t say yes if you hate that genre of writing. You’ll just hate my book and waste both our time.

Ok so those were some pretty heavy simplifications. But all have happened to me in one form or another at some time in my writing career. So it happens, a lot.

Let’s talk about how to give good beta.

First, what did the author ask you for? Do they want a full line by line edit for grammar and punctuation, plot overview, time line correction, character assassination, etc?

I have two superb line editors. I never ask for that, except from them. I ask for where the story breaks the flow, places you were confused, things that seemed out of place, when did you fall out of the story and why.

Second, are you criticizing their voice, their style, their way of writing, or are you finding issues that interfered with your suspension of disbelief?

Third, do you seek to find fault or do you seek to help them produce the best novel they can write?

Actually this last one is not bad for life in general.

I need a caffeine IV

It’s just one of those mornings. Nothing really went wrong. But time was having a good laugh at my expense. And there simply wasn’t enough coffee, in the state to make it all work.

I’ve been staying up way too late in the last few days. I finished my novel for beta last week. I have six beta readers, which seems adequate but I could take one or two more (Deb?). But the void in my ambition laced stress caused me to fall into a Hawaii Five O binge. Yeah I know the show is mindless. That’s the point. Pretty, pretty boys, running around shooting guns and blowing things up. It smooths out my mind when I have brain hole due to project wrap up.

Immediately after that I began staying up too late to beta read the cutest little novel by a ten year old I have ever read. Trust me, people, this kid will be getting a publishing contract before I do. He has a quirky unique idea. Plus he’s a kid. YA is so hot right now. At least I will be able to say I knew him when and more over I introduced him to Nanowrimo. sigh.

So my new conundrum is this. While I wait for feedback I am planning to dive back into my half drafted spy novel. The one I worked on for about 18 months before I hated the characters so much I was forced to send them on vacation for a few months. Yep, 18 months and it’s still not done.  So I’m picking it back up. But should I plan to write it for Nano this year? (Third time is a charm?) Or accept the glaringly obvious truth, this spy novel is just not good nano material. If I plan to write something else this nano, I need to figure out what that might be and research it. And there’s the rub, what might I write this November?

Oh, Glorious Finale

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen it is so. I have finished editing for Beta.

This is not to say the book is finished. I fully expect to have to make many, many changes after my Beta readers get done with me. And I need to fill in a few more bits here and there, names and what not. But for all intents and purposes, I am done.

So here it is, the first five people to comment and tell me why they want to beta this glorious mess get a copy.

Keep in mind this is a click lit/romance set it 1946 England. If that isn’t your cup of tea then don’t beta this book, you’ll hate it and the feedback will be less than useful.

If you think you might like that but aren’t sure, check my posts from last November. I put clips on each one and that should give you a bit of flavor. A taste teaser so to speak.

I am moderately proud of this work as it is the first novel I have finished. Also moderately embarrassed as it’s romance chick lit. But I think it’s funny. And really it’s only meant to be a happy little vanilla pudding for your brain read. So eat up or read up. I’m all a twist in my metaphors now aren’t I?

Did I mention I still need a name for this opus?

I breathe, therefore I am

My days have been filled with so many amazing things lately.

Nanowrimo put on this amazing podcast back at the end of February called Attracting an Editor. Awesome! Barry Cunningham, he published Roald Dahl and JK Rowling, and his new author M. Anjelais were interviewed for about an hour. Both were charming and funny. Both were very direct and honest about their experiences in publishing. I’ll give you the couple of point that really got my attention. The ones I am still thinking about, mulling over, sharing with other people three weeks later.

-You need to be fearless. You will be rejected but keep going because whether an editor likes your work is not at all about the quality of your work but more about the moment that the editor reads it. Always carry on believing in your work.

-According to Barry what editors want the most is an authentic voice, everything else can be fixed.

-According to Barry, only get an agent if they are really adding something to the process. They keep your books for the rest of the book’s life, so you have to be happy giving away a percentage forever.

-Per M. only write if it feels like something you must do, if you really love it. She writes because it’s as natural to write as it is to breathe.

Wow. air in, air out. Yep. I’m in love.

I think you can still get the video of this from Nanowrimo. It’s worth it to watch it. Although there were some audio issues with Barry in the beginning, if you work to understand him, it is totally possible.

Stay tuned for more fun and games.

January, why did it have to be January?

Did you survive the holidays? or did you thrive?

I love a little stress, I do. Hence my Nano participation with glee. But when I end up pulling an all nighter at my father in law’s house the day before my Mother in laws’s celebration of life so I can finish my niece’s afghan for our Christmas that next afternoon…that’s cutting it a little close for my own comfort. But the afghan was beautiful. And I got a latte before I catered the reception.

Half the reason I was so behind was that I went to visit my good friend Missy for New Year’s Eve. I love going to her house. She has kids a bit older than mine and the second we arrive my son disappears upstairs to play with her kids. They all appear for meals but other than that we don’t see them. It is so awesome. Plus she and her husband have similar sense of humor to mine and my husbands. We play games, laugh too much, and drink more than is probably healthy. But it was New Years right?

I know what you are thinking. What does all this have to do with Nanowrimo? Not much. LOL. But after a cold yet dry week in Cali, we arrived home to non stop rain. And I liked it. So as I was driving along today I was reminded of the story I heard this year about why a rubber duck is the Nano symbol here in the Seattle area. I heard the story from someone who heard the story from someone who heard the story from someone, you get the picture.

Some Seattle folk had gone down to the University of Oregon to watch a football game against U-dub. At half time they noticed the Oregon duck wasn’t on the field and so they asked the animal handler why the duck wasn’t running around frolicking. The handler replied that it was raining.

And the hydrophobic duck was born that year as a nose thumb to U of Oregon. So now every November we all drag out our rubber ducks to each and every write in. Just in case you were wondering why….

In Cali we had plot ninjas. I prefer my ducks. There’s more scope for entertainment with ducks.

I have not written a word since the first week in December. My new mostly self imposed deadline is the end of January for completion. I want to take advantage of one of the winner prizes to get some hard copies of my novel published for free to give beta readers and that prize expires at the end of January. Stay tuned for updates in January twice a week.

Sad and Lonely, sad and lonely

won’t some sweet nano come back to me…..

I miss it. I do. I don’t know what to do with myself this morning without my Tuesday morning write in.

I had all these plans for this week. I was going to take this week off writing and get everything ready for our Christmas party on Saturday. I was going to run all of the accumulated goods to the various charities I donate to. I was going to finish all the small gifts I am crocheting for all my son’s girlfriends this week.

Instead what happened? Sunday night after I posted my blog, said I was done and was ready to put it aside for a bit, I laid in bed thinking of scenes I wanted to add, of research I still needed to do, and I almost got right back up again.

So yesterday I wrote. Just a little because I simply could not get through the day without opening my document.

And I have to wonder, does this mean I am on to something good with this novel or that I’m an addict?

We are the champions, my friends, and we’ll keep on writing to the end.

And beyond.

win

It is late, so I will be brief.

I did make 50K this evening and validated my win. I also finished my novel today but it is not quite where I want it. I anticipate adding another 5-7K. Ideally I saw this novel as a nice 60K bathtub romance. I’d still like to see it near there.

Time spent writing: 2 hours.

Words today: 2701

Cumulative total: 50001 or 100%

( yes, I know my word count is slightly off from what Nano counted. Live with the inconsistency.)

It’s alright, It’s ok, welcome to this life

stressing time, I have 29 hours to go. (Forgive me Leah Andreone for bastardizing your song)

Today was a stupendous writing day given the amount of time I had to accomplish a lot of words.

I am feeling the squeeze for a couple of reasons.

A) Thanksgiving weekend is when my family decorates for Christmas.

B) My father in law arrives Monday morning and my house hasn’t been cleaned in longer than I care to admit.

C) Nano is almost over. Meaning I am almost out of time.

Too many things to do all at once. I think I’ll go to bed.

Time spent writing: 90-100 minutes give or take at the write in.

Words Today: 2782

Cumulative total: 47300 or 94.6% (2700n to win)

Here we go again

I have a confession to make. I did not write a single stinkin’ word on Thanksgiving. In fact I didn’t even open my document.

Oh no. Call the Nano police.

So this morning I woke up with 6600 words to write by Sunday at 1158PM in all reasonableness as I need a minute or two to upload my work for verification to Nano.

In honor of those 6600 words I will give you the 6 1/2 things I am grateful for this nano season.

1. My husband: He is amazing. How many people can say that their partner not only shares their dream, supports their dreams (emotionally, physically, financially) but that when they lose site of their dream and fall, their partner picks them back up and puts them back on the path. Enough said.

2. My son: He is so well behaved when I make him go to write ins with me. True at some write ins there are other kids who he adores. And at all the other write ins he gets fussed over for being cute and well behaved. And I lift his TV and electronic game limits for those days. And he gets to order whatever he wants while at the write in…wait why am I grateful for him? Sounds like I’m doing all the work. Then again that is my job and he does make me look good.

3. I live here in Washington.

4. Sno Valley Writes: They are a great group that welcomes new writers and makes a serious effort to help them feel included. There is not a single member of that group that wouldn’t help any fellow artist. They are amazing people as well as talented at their craft.

5. My friends: who watch my kid, listen to be grumble about plot issues, and generally accept my complete MIA status for the month of November but welcome me back in December with love.

6. Nanowrimo : For forcing me to stop talking about being a writer and start actually writing.

6 1/2: my dogs, for behaving half as well as I would like.

Time spent writing today: er, um, yeah. So I went to the Friday morning write in, PJ edition in honor of post thanksgiving. Alex and Jessica were there. We have way too much together. They share my sense of humor. This all translates into me writing bugger all at the write in. (650 words in 3 hours. snort. laugh. choke)

Words Today: 1086

Cumulative Total: 44518 or 89% (5482 to win)

Scene of the day:

I arrived in Lila’s room laden with a flowering plant, chocolates, and three new magazines.

“Darling, how nice to see you.” Lila reached for the box of chocolates. “You shouldn’t have, I’m getting monstrously fat.”

“I think that’s the baby.” I laughed.

Lila shrugged. “It’s a lovely excuse anyway to eat all the chocolates I want.”

“I didn’t know you needed an excuse. Nicholas doesn’t seem the type to keep you on a short leash.”

“He doesn’t but a girl has to maintain her figure to maintain her self-respect.” Lila said blandly while scraping the chocolate off the bottom of a crème center to figure out which flavor the cream was.

I laughed and wondered if that was my problem. I had lost a few pounds since my multiple heart break fiasco. My figure was suffering and my self-respect was nonexistent. I glanced down at the way my dress was bagging, my figure might soon be nonexistent if I didn’t do something about the situation. “You better give me one of those chocolates.”

Lila gave me a long look, “I think you need more than one sweetheart.”