Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not always genre specific

I have a confession-I'm not a romance writer. I am in the RWA and have been so for a number of years. I read romance and my books all have some romantic element in them (kinda hard to avoid ;))- but my books will all live in the SF/Fantasy side of a bookstore. So why am I in the RWA you may ask?

Excellent question with a few answers.

1) I wanted to be part of a writing community, I wanted to be around other folks who understand when your character runs away with the book, or your middle sags. And guess what? There is NO such community for SF/F writers. Nope. There is SFWA, however they don't really let you play in their sandbox until your are published by a NY publisher. Now, they do provide information for the great unwashed- er unpublished, and they have some very good stuff up, don't get me wrong. But they have not created a community to nurture unpublished novelists in their genre. So, I went to the best group that does that- RWA.

2) Good writing is good writing. Since I don't write romance, I don't follow all of the standard patterns of plotting as they do. But pretty much all the other aspects of craft and business are the same. It doesn't matter if you write horror or cozy mysteries- good writing and good story telling is a must. And the RWA has tons of resources, members with blogs, workshops to help teach it.

3) I needed to learn about marketing. In this day and age, writers have to market themselves. Through my RWA chapters, I've seen many amazing examples of blogs, blog tours, contests, tons of marketing ideas.

So I am proud to say that I am a member of the RWA, one who is writing books with romantic elements as opposed to pure romance (for now ;)). Genre’s be darned- it’s the writing that counts and I’ve learned more from my romance writing buddies than I ever could have learned without them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Asking all writers- what is your FAV writing book?

I was pondering my vast collection of writing books and it got me to thinking- what is my favorite, most influential book? I'd have to say Techniques of a Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. It's an older book- but you can really see where most writing books got their start ;).

What about you? Published or not-lurkers or not... what is your ONE "must have" book? I'd like to post a list on this blog for folks- so if you have more than one- please mention it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pantser verses plotter and what’s in the middle

Blogging from my oh so glorious day job again today. Today is all about the basics- how do you craft your stories? I’m at a spot where I am editing/doing triage on my steampunk while getting ready/starting my newest book.

And I’m wondering just what in the heck I’m doing.

I’ve done five books so far (two in one series, the rest are separate series). And each book has come together slightly differently. My first two were done in fits and starts over a long time as I slowly admitted I really was a writer (denial wasn’t pretty, but it took a while to admit it). The next one was done with a heavy start via NaNoWriMo. That was interesting and actually worked well for the pace of that book. It’s my SF book and the fast pace that resulted from a speed "bones version" from NaNo worked. But I did end up with a few dumped sections. The other two were done slightly different, but still pure pantser with clean-up on aisle 6 afterwards.

As I’m working through cleaning up the steampunk book for submission I’m asking myself if my purely pantser MO is really working. I like it because if I know too much about a story ahead of time, I lose the “need” to keep writing to find out what happened. I also like the wild directions that can pop up with a pantser style.

But clean up is a biatch.

So my new book is sitting there in “notes” form while ideas come to me, but I’m focusing on the editing of the steampunk book. But I think I’m going to do something radical and partially ONLY partially mind you outline this new book. I want to keep the freedom of pantser, but have a bit more planning so I’m not doing such heavy lifting after the book is done.

My question to all of you is- how do you do it? Pantser? Plotter? Combo? Have a good way for a pantser to ease into a more guided story? Any hints, tips, ideas are most welcome!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Blog look!

Ok so yesterday I was home sick )still am) so I felt the need to change my blog layout- kinda spring-ish...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When characters pull a fast one

I’ve started a new book as mentioned previously- but even though it’s only a few pages in, it’s gone through some MAJOR changes.

My lead character had a sex change while I was trying to sprint into “his” story. A bit of a shock to me, but probably quite worse for "him".

Here’s what happened. I was settling in to do some writing sprints with a dear friend. I was moving along but something just felt off- like when your left rear tire is going flat. Not flat yet mind you- but slowly losing air and your car just feels “off”.

My story-my newest baby- was off the track.

I had decided to do a male pov with this story- a story idea that’s lurked in my idea drawer for a few eons. It HAD to be a male, four guys, military fantasy, images in my mind….and the character said- nope.

Actually, I blame the new character. As I was working I realized- naw, this has to be a tough military woman. So I puttered about trying names, changing all the pronouns, etc. Then I realized this wasn’t just ANY woman, this was a character I had written in a short story over ten years ago for a class! She shoved her way in and pummeled the original character out of exsistance!

Now, I’m all for strong women- I like to think I’m one, and I admire those who really are. But isn’t this a bit much? Just whose story is this? Well, the new character made it very clear that it is her story and while I may think it is mine- I am delusional.

Now, not everything will go her way, but I think her main issue was just to make sure I knew she was supposed to be the lead. But dang, I’ve never had that happen before!

What about any of you? Ever have a main character RADICALLY change from who you planned on them being?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction

Just a reminder- a great auction for a great cause is up today! Go check it out!