Wednesday Writing

I made it to write in tonight. I used the first few minutes while I waited for my desperately needed Reuben/no bread to arrive, to catch up on my blog interaction. I won’t take you step by step down my worm hole up I ended up at an article entitled How to Build Your Author platform in 10 hours per week. This sounded intriguing. Then I saw this line “After all, the only thing worse than not publishing your book is to publish it and get ignored entirely.” sigh. You’re telling my story, my friend. Strangely enough there were no new flashes of information in this article. I do all that and more (got on a book club and gave a meet the author q&a) and I am still unknown. sigh.

Then I spent way too long looking at the schedule for Norwescon. I was thinking of taking this year off but my sis is coming with my nephew who wants to go, so I’ll do a day with the kiddo.

Then, I ripped off the band-aid. I opened my spy novel. I started rewriting my first chapter. It had been mentioned by more than one reader that my first chapter felt different from the rest of the book. Taking a hard look at it after 2 months away from the text, I have to agree. I got too caught up in weaving in all the fun research I did and it came across as stilted. I have a very conversational writing style. I need to rewrite the chapter to be in line with the chatty casual way the rest of the book reads. So I did it. I started rewriting. I have no idea if it will be any better but it is different. shrug. Only 37 chapters to go. LOL

How about you? How is your writing project going? Are you doing Camp Nano this year?

 

 

Friday Fun: Wicked Fun

Greetings from my trip. I would like to call it a vacation but I read an article recently that was very clear: if you are on a trip with your child it is not a vacation. LOL. So let’s just call it taking the show on the road.

Speaking of road shows. Wednesday night I skipped write in and went out with some girlfriends. It was K’s birthday and we had dinner at the Tap Room and went to see Wicked at the Paramount Theater. About the Tap Room, hundreds of beers on tap. What I like, I don’t drink beer, is they have Wicked Baked Apple cider on tap. Yum! They also have an amazing Moscow Mule and mouth watering Calamari.

So on to the show. um….I really want to say I loved it. But I didn’t. The solo vocals were beautiful. Gorgeous voices, good lyrics. The ensemble vocals were less than stellar. I couldn’t understand the words and I wasn’t the only one.

The dancing. Oh god, the dancing. Fifty percent was turns, or spins if you want to be generous. Most of what came to mind was that Choreography scene from White Christmas where they are making fun of the loss of actual dancing in dance routines on stage. Yeah.

Moving on, the stage set was Awesome. Really intriguing construct of steel and screening.

The plot was good, but I did find myself thinking, all this over a guy, really?

Of course the sap in me was thrilled when Fierro and Elphaba sneak off together in the end to live in the spare castle together and in peace.

But still, all that over a boy. Laughing.

It is the last day of Camp Nanowrimo. I didn’t make goal. In fact, I don’t think I wrote the last three week on my spy novel. Ce la vie.

I am off with my friend to go to a Fusion class at her gym. With a little luck I won’t hurt anything important.

Friday Fun

There is no fun in whoville today. And there hasn’t been in at least a week. I am not writing on my spy novel. It’s sitting forlorn and abandoned. It just isn’t fun to write and I’ve heard if it wasn’t fun to write it won’t be fun to read. So it sits.

Technically I’m justifying this lack of writing by researching for it. LOL. A book I wanted eons ago came in at the library and I’m slogging my way through a badly written SAS handbook. But I know and you know, it’s just my way of avoiding writing.

And today I’m ok with that. I will finish this damn spy novel…just maybe not this month. Chalk up a loss for Camp Nanowrimo 2015.

Have you ever shelved a book fifty times and finally managed to finish it and be happy with the final product? Do tell.

Weekend Workshop Saturday Edition

Still working from Story Sense by Paul Lucey, Chapter 5: Creating Emotionally Dimensional Characters.

Per Lucey, we must imagine interesting characters before we can write them. (!) The process of imagining involves refining ordinary day dreaming until it conjures characters and settings that come to life. One should strive to create characters so intense, they come alive, break free from you as the author, and take over the story. Lucey calls this one of the joys of writing. I agree.

Imagination is like a muscle, you need to work it to grow it. No Pain, no Gain. The pain comes from the effort of trying to imagine a scene that refuses to happen in your mind. The gain is of course a scene that works. You also need imagination to know when a scene is useful or when it should be reworked or even tossed from the novel.

Lucey recommends spending as much effort on prepping the setting as you need to make the characters really live, as much detail as you need to bring the dramatic possibility to life. Research. Draw out the entire layout of a location or map of your world if that will help you fix things in reality.

There are many characters available for each role in your work. Audition them. Place them in the “empty chair” and grill them until the answers come to you. If they are who you want “cast them” in your novel, otherwise, say thanks but no thanks and move on. If you care about your creations, appreciate their problems, love their individual quirks, you will soon know them, who they are and what they can contribute to your story.

A good character needs:

-a history

-emotional baggage

-principles they are willing to defend or bend (as suits your tale)

-flaws

-emotional content (are they moody, funny, sappy?)

-needs that are not being met

-psychological imperative (a reason they do what they do)

A sense of how the human mind works can really help with developing characters that function in the world you have written for them. I won’t give a psychological 101 on the spot. Go to the library. Read up a bit. (I have read or am in the process of reading several books about sociopaths and abnormal psyche for this November’s Nanowrimo.) A common theme is the blind spot. Most people have one. That place where what you want over shadows what you actually need so that you act in a self defeating manner, without seeing it.

Again I will emphasize (Lucey mentions it in passing), give your minor characters a solid base. Don’t just throw them in as foils for your main character to play off of. Nanowrimo has a list of the fifty things you should be able to answer for your main character and know so well you don’t even have to think before answering. But your minor characters deserve as much as well. Check the questionnaire out here.

I’ll leave you with this bit of gossip from Lucey, which I did invest a bit of time to check out and find it more or less accurate, or as accurate as one can be when dealing with the foibles of man. William Faulkner (yes, that Faulkner) apparently was so desperate to have been a pilot in World War I, that he pretended to be British to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto(he was too short for the US to take him) and when the war ended before he completed his training, he still pretended to have flown and crashed, using a cane and walking with a limp. People do inexplicable things that make sense to them even if the rest of us don’t understand. As a writer it’s our job to make it understandable.

Wednesday Writer’s Cafe

I had the hardest time writing at cafe tonight. But really I can’t blame it on cafe. I didn’t make it last week which meant much chatting needed to happen. And really I haven’t felt much like writing at all these days. I’m just frustrated with my spy novel. This happens a lot with my spy novel. I get into a groove, it last a few thousand words, and then I’m done. I just want to throw it on the fire and toast a marshmallow.

sigh.

So far this week I’ve written 430 words. That’s since Saturday. Yep. That’s less than 100 words a day. Bleh.

On the plus side I think I talked D into reading a book I really liked. LOL. Glad I could help someone else to get their book out there.

I’m not sure the spy novel will ever see the light of day which is a little sad to me because it was my first. And there are parts of it, that I think are really, really high quality, especially for an action novel. LOL. But I’m not sure there’s enough meat on this carcass to give it legs.

Talk to me? Do you abandon a novel that is resisting being written? Or do you bang it out no matter how painful the process is?

Weekend Workshop: Saturday Edition

Coming to you live in smell-o-vision. Does anyone out there remember that? We got into a discussion last weekend about Soaring Over California and I congratulated Disney on their fabulous use of Smell-O-Vision. People were shocked that was a real thing. It was. Some film companies were trying to complete with color back in the day without paying to upgrade. Shrug. It didn’t really work because the technology wasn’t sufficient to get the smells in and out properly. Not like Soaring Over California.  Bravo Disney. Now if only you could do something about the obscene lines….

Story Sense, Chapter Four: Scene Structure

Once again I am editing and paring for the parts that really apply to any fiction writing not just screen play writing. I think this book might be getting a little too screen play focused but I toil on.

A bit is a short piece, that lacks internal structure but moves the plot forward.

A scene is more complicated with internal structure, think three sections not unlike the 3 act structure, and is more likely to deal with emotional development.

Hoard your plot information and release it in small increments to sustain interest in the narrative. This dynamic is essential to writing simple plots with complex characters.

So, what is the point of the scene? No really, do you know? If you don’t the reader sure won’t. If you’re having trouble with a scene maybe it’s because you aren’t clear on where the scene is supposed to go. Don’t let your characters run away with you. Keep them moving toward the point of the scene. When a new idea hits you, really work it over to make sure it makes sense for your story line, if it does, rework your plot to incorporate it seamlessly. If you need it in your scene, put it there. If it’s just window dressing, make it go.

Energize characters by making them comical, sexy, egotistical, unpleasant, aggressive, eccentric, or whatever will justify their internal life and motivation.

According to Lucey, a crafty writing strategy worth remembering is this: do not make your hero give excuses, it diminishes the hero. If in his past the hero has been a scapegoat for a situation, he shouldn’t talk about it, have other characters transmit the information. But be careful that your back story doesn’t linger so long that it impacts the momentum of the story negatively.

Don’t forgot the golden action – reaction set up. It should be logical but unexpected.

Camp Nano is going fabulously. I don’t have a word count update for today because I just got out of bed but never fear, words will appear.

Fun Friday Camp Nanowrimo Updates

What a week it has been. My Father in law arrived very late Tuesday night with a truck full of antique furniture and other assorted physical memories of my husband’s life. Of course he had said he would arrived Wednesday night but that’s neither here nor there. LOL.

So I posted Wednesday very briefly, I was drunk and I didn’t want to fall into a long rambling drunk post. But I did no writing for Nano Wednesday or Thursday which meant this morning my word count was just above 4400, or behind. sigh. It was bound to happen at some point, right? But I thought it was ok because it’s Friday and Friday I go to a writers cafe, great chance to make up some word count. Only, I couldn’t get my kiddo out of the house. Do not underestimate the ability of a six year old boy to derail the best laid plans of mice and men.

Before you slap yourself on the forehead and say what is going on with this girl, let me throw in really quick I did write for an hour at home this morning and got 1060 words written. Not bad words either in my humble opinion.

Currently my total is 5462/5000. Ahead again. Tis a lovely place to be.

No excerpt today. I’m not on my laptop with scrivner on it. I’m borrowing my hubby’s laptop.

Camp Nanowrimo Day 6 Update

Hello campers and regular people with other things to do this July,

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to write today. It was hot, AGAIN. Too many hot days in a row turns my brain to mush. And then just as I got into a really good flow I hit a geographical quandary. I had to stop and consider my options. I’ll sleep on it and hopefully know what I am about tomorrow.

I did write 477 words today. (A little shy of goal but I really need to figure out which port makes the most sense for my terrorists to be landing their ship at before I go on.)

Total 3881/3000 I’m still ahead. Holy Cow Bat Man!

Excerpt:

Galatea returned to the work room in time to hear Stanley yip gleefully. “There you are.”
“You have something?”
Gareth and Talon both sat upright.
“Yes, I have your ship.”
“Do tell.”
“The Al-Uzza is a Liberian ship based in the port of Monrovia. According to known intel it is a ship for hire if the work is dirty and the money clean.”
Talon opened his mouth to tell Stanley that was information they already knew or could have surmised given the situation but Galatea forestalled him with a quick shake of her head. “Go on, Stanley.”
“It last left Monrovia 22 days ago and is not expected to return.”
“Wait they filed that they don’t intend to return?” Talon needed clarification.
With a sigh, Stanley went on, “They didn’t file a return date, so they are classified as no expected to return.”
Talon nodded but didn’t feel particularly put out by Stanley’s insinuation he should know this, he was SAS, what did he know about boats.
“It was last spotted in the North Pacific about five days ago.”
Galatea nodded and smiled hoping he would get to something relevant.
“And that’s about it unless you want to see the floor plans now.”
“That’s it? No information on where it might be or where it might be going? Who’s running it?”
Stanley shook his head. “It’s not like boats file flight plans or carry beacons like airplanes. Once they leave port, they’re invisible until they pull into the next one.”
There was stunned silence for a few beats. Then Gareth cleared his throat. “That’s not necessarily true.”
All eyes turned to him. He opened his eyes, slowly lowered his legs from the coffee table to the floor, and sat up. “They pull Local Notice to Mariners, right?”
“I suppose so. I thought those got sent automatically from the map company.”
“Notice to Mariners and Summary of Corrections do but you can radio in for a Local Notice to Mariners. When you’re approaching an area and you aren’t sure how up to date your map is.”
Stanley frowned and began typing like a hacker, which was essentially what he was preparing to do.
Galatea returned to pacing, Gareth leaned back in the chair and closed eyes once more. Talon attempted not to watch Galatea’s body as it roamed the room with her usual casual grace.
The assistant breezed through with take away which they fell upon immediately with gusto. It took Stanley long enough that mere remnants remained in the bottom of the cartons when he announced he had something.

Monday Book Review: Mad Science Institute

I just finished this fab book by Sechin Tower.msi_front-cover

I have to figure out some sort of ratings system, I know, I know, but if I one, Mad Science Institute, would be up there.

First off, I love his straight forward style. There is no extra malarkey. You get what you need to be there in the story, no extra puff, no extra wall paper.

He writes in a rapid fire way that really propels me through the novel.

His characters are intriguing. I like that he spends some time weaving in a bit of back story for the characters who really matter and giving you pure personality for the ones who are less important. Saves time and effort in remembering extra stuff that won’t matter when the character dies. Red shirt alert without being quite so obvious. (no offense to Star Trek).

Sophia, affectionately known as Soap, is accepted to the Mechanical Science Institute, less affectionately known as the Mad Science Institute. Housed on the campus of another university, the institute is devoted to the exploration, adaptation, and expansion of Nikola Tesla’s inventions. But as usual with massive power comes some asshole who wants it for himself and rather than settle into classes Soap is forced to do battle to protect the world with the help of her robot dog scorpion, her cuz, and some mad scientists.

I suppose one could classify this a YA work but I didn’t find it YA ish in the negative connotation. Yes, Soap is a young protagonist, her cousin however is not and this is half his book.

There is a lot of science jargon going on. But Sechin writes it in a way that I can almost believe is possible. However I will deduct half a milk dud, dog bone, or other ratings item for one of my pet peeves. He references a picture of Mark Twain holding a light bulb that isn’t connected to a wire because supposedly he was in Tesla’s lab testing wireless energy, I googled the picture, you can see the wire large as life. Bah. Historical lies. Minus half a light bulb.

On the plus side I did actually stop to read out bits to my husband who laughed so maybe he gets half a light bulb back for that. I’ll have to sleep on it.

I leave you with the link to Sechin’s page. The link to buy this book on Amazon. And a quote from Soap, “It’s much better if we keep it secret, because a bunch of teenagers and college students who answer to no higher authority would never misuse infinite power.”

Camp Nanowrimo Day 5 update:

525 words written while watching the old pink panther cartoon with my son, is it any good? I have no clue. But I did manage not to write dant dant dant dant dant anywhere but here so that counts right?

Total 3404/2500. Still ahead. How did that happen?