Here i will share my journey of hopefully one day recognising my dream of becoming published writing what i love to read; Romance!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, i'm a bit early! But i've just gotten back from holiday in Taupo and will probably be busy come new years' so i'll do it early :)

Also i would like to take the opportunity to congratulate my friend and fellow writer Nicole MacDonald on being a newly published author! That's right, her book The Arrival (BirthRight Trilogy) is available now on Amazon.com for the kindle!
CONGRATULATIONS!



Now, an intro:

The Arrival starts with a love spell, cast to find friends each a soul mate. It works...but no the way the girls anticipated.
Thrown into a different world, in a different time, they encounter danger and near death, having to fight for their lives before they even know where they are. Holding their own, barely, until a group of Griffons arrive bearing their soul mates.


And now, my review :)

Nicole has a unique writing voice and style. You will enjoy reading from the viewpoint of many of the characters within the story which brings a richness and fullness to complete your reading experience. 
It has rich and descriptive detail, various points of view, conflicts, bloodcurdling battles, magic, fantastical creatures and a subtle layer of sexual tension to keep you going to the very end....where you realise you just HAVE to have the next installment.
Gripping and emotive, this story will leave you begging for more and thinking about it long after you have finished reading.
Go buy it now, experience the magic of Nicole MacDonald!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When one door closes....AND Merry Christmas!

... a window opens creating a hurricane of ideas!!.
Why, after having finished and submitted my story, do i have a sudden very visual scene spring into my head?
I already have about fifty other ideas, clamouring for attention and to be written - and i'm not even supposed to be writing next year!
I'm starting my early childhood degree and my husband has requested i focus entirely on that and not writing. Well, ahem, you can't stop the writer within!

So, my goal over the week i am away for Christmas is to sort through my TBW (to be written lol!) pile and get started on the most pressing. Because let's face it, i AM a writer and i will always have another story to write, pottering away in the background until it is finished. Who says i can't do two things at once???

What are you doing over the Christmas break? Are you waiting to hear on a sub? Or are you starting a brand new story?
Have a merry Christmas.

xxKerrin

Monday, December 13, 2010

I've hit send!

For the final SYTYCW challenge, that is!
Man, i feel a tad sick and whole lotta nervous!! :D  Guaranteed to get a reply by Jan 31 2011.

Good luck to anyone out there with a submission. It is so nerve wracking. I've checked and re checked both synopsis and chapter 1 at least 10 times for spelling, missing words etc. But i bet i'll find more - so guess what? I'm not going to read those bits until i hear back!

And yep, it's for Billie and Cooper's story.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Length confusion, and another tip!

That is, the length of the double spaced synopsis - get your mind out of the gutter! ;)

So usually synopsis' are accepted at 2 double spaced pages, but i've been informed (okay, so i doubt you just a little Lacey!) that up to 5 double spaced pages are allowed for the SYTYCW final challenge.

I've just posted a question about it on the reminder blog post, but if anyone else can confirm it that would be great!


Okay, a tip: From Writers Digest.com


Here are 10 keys to creating a successful synopsis.
1.  Do keep in mind that this is a sales pitch. Make it a short, fast and exciting read.
2.  Do establish a hook at the beginning of the synopsis. Introduce your lead character and set up a key conflict.
3.  Do remember to always introduce your most important character first.
4.  Do provide details about each of your central characters (age, gender, marital status, profession, etc.), but don’t do this for every character—only the primary ones.
5.  Do include the characters’ motivations and emotions.
6.  Do highlight pivotal plot points.
7.  Do reveal your novel’s ending.
8.  Don’t go into detail about what happens; just tell the reader what happens as concisely as you can.

9. Don't inject long section of dialogue.

10. Do write in the third person, present tense, even if your novel is written in a different point of view.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Synopsis tip

Yep, i've nearly finished mine. Will be printing it out and going over it with highlighters and pens to find all the internal and external conflicts, make sure it's only following the internal growth of each character but including enough punch to grab the editor's attention. Tough.

Here's a tip/info i gleaned from the wonderful Michelle Styles:


There are five things you need to include in any synopsis
1. The setting -- specifically where does the action take place?
2. The main characters -- what are their major motivations or conflicts both externally and internally.
3. After the magic words, When the novels begins, you tell your main story. If this is a romance, you are telling of the growing attraction and the set backs the couple encounters on the way. If it is a saga, you are telling the story of one woman’s growth arc..
4. The Back Moment. -- how does the story reach its climatic moment, what happens
5. The Resolution, the happy ending. Tell the editor how the story ends.

Do you have any tips to add?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Review

Yep time for another review!
I've just finished a story written by one of the newest writers to Harlequin, Maisey Yates!
I follow her blog and she is one open and talented young lady!

I enjoyed her first book, His Virgin Acquisition, but unfortunately i didn't feel it when the hero realised he loved the heroine.

No such problem with Maisey's second book: A Mistake, A Prince and A Pregnancy.

The instant attraction between Maximo and Alison is blistering, as is their fight to stay in control of themselves and not give into the fire burning within.
This story packed a passionate punch, the characters are loveable (just love an artist hero :D not to mention a strong heroine!), and totally relatable, even if he is a prince he still had the same conflicts of a normal man. The set up is awesome, Pregnant by a mix up at a fertility clinic, love it!
Read this one, you won't regret it!

So, what have you read in November that has you gushing??

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Synopsis

Yep, that's what i'm doing at the moment!
I had gone through and put a comment at the beginning of each chapter with a brief overview of what happens to the characters, their arcs etc and am now going through and trying to piece it together.
So far i'm up to two single spaced pages!
HMB like 2 double spaced pages, so this is going to be hard!

Do you have any tips you want to share about synopsis'?
I'll be posting some over the next week, stay tuned :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Passed vs Past

Does anyone else have problems with knowing when to use the correct one?
Going through my ms, i have been struck with the knowledge that i am confused by it, so much so that i change them from one to the other and back again, but still don't think i know!

I try to remember that:
Passed is the past participle of to pass

And,
Past refers to time. (But that changes when someone walks past a shop!)

This article is very good, but i still don't think i have a handle on it.

Can anyone help out? How do you know which one to use?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I've finished my draft!

Yay, i wrote the final words for Billie and Cooper's HEA yesterday!

It's a bit under 50,000 but i'm sure this will come up with edits and rewrites. I'm actually looking forward to this part, i have something to work with as opposed to having a blank screen for the what happens next!

Well, i'm going to draft my synopsis - yes you can shudder! - and get the first chapter polished, because i think it needs tweaking even though i had polished it already for the NV comp!
Then sub, Ahh!

Any advice or encouragement for the editing and rewrite stage, even the synopsis is greatly appreciated!

Nano is awesome for encouraging you to write - i've written the most in two weeks that i have EVER written. Bring on next year!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Drained and a realisation

I've just written 2,900 words. That is the most i've written in a sitting ever!
Of course it helps that it is a highly charged, emotional scene, where Billie and Cooper confront their conflicts and realisation dawns. But at a price.
Man am i drained! I am leaving Cooper on the cusp of his realisation of Billie's true conflict - which i only just discovered in this scene and now have to rewrite parts of the story to tighten what had been a rather weak conflict! - as i have nothing left.
For my nano count today is awesome:
day 11 total: 2,897
first word: As
Last word: what?"
Fav line: Before he could respond she stepped forward and he caught that scent, so intoxicating to his senses, like a visible drug, he was forced to pause, inhale deeply, involuntarily.


I actually have more fav lines but as i will probably edit them, this is the one that stands out for me, shows the impact billie has on Cooper and his unwillingness at this stage in the story to deny it. I'm now at 44,567 words and am right on the finish line. I'm so excited!
Hope you are all doing well, your muse has struck and your fingers are flying on the keyboard as mine has tonight! If not, i hope it comes to you soon :)
Good night.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

weepy moments

How do you feel writing those moments that really tug on the heartstrings?
I find them the easiest to write, always have, even when i was at school.
Why am i asking this?
Today my son is 5 and it's his first day at school. I'm feeling emotional.
check out the photos from my family blog of one of my biggest weaknesses: My gorgeous little man!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Interrupted!

My husband came home last night - he's been away for a week for work! - and interrupted my plans to continue writing last evening. But i don't care!
I've missed him so much so the interruption was a good one!

Day 5 total: 889

Fav line: Cooper, passionate, hot, sexy as hell had turned into a cold, emotionless figure of himself.


Total so far for Nano: 4,400! with a few odd more words :)


I'm stoked! This is the most i've written in a week - sad isn't it?!
But the way i'm going this will be finished in no time!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What have you read in October?

I'd realised i hadn't done a post on what we are reading this month for October!

I've just finished Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning.
If any of you have read her Highlander series you will understand why i wanted to try this series.
Her writing is compelling. In the Highlander series Moning had woven the fae fantasy so well with the modern, the characters are believable and the sensuality is sky high, gosh, i just couldn't put those seven or so books down!
This series is just as compelling. Much darker with the threat to the main character and the world as the Fae, Unseelie are being unleashed onto Earth and devouring humans without them knowing.
It hasn't bothered me that there is no underlying or even overlying romance. I am getting a hint as i'm reading the second book, Bloodfever, of attraction between Mackayla and Barrons, her mentor if you could call him that.

here is the blurb:

My name is MacKayla, Mac for short. I'm a sidhe-seer, one who sees the Fae, a fact I accepted only recently and very reluctantly.

My philosophy is pretty simple--any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven't had many good days lately. Not since the walls between Man and Fae came down. But then, there's not a sidhe-seer alive who's had a good day since then.

When MacKayla's sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death--a cryptic message on Mac's cel phone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed--a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae....

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister's death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho Barrons...while at the same time, the ruthless V'lane--an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women--closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac's true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book--because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control both worlds in their hands....

I really recommend anything written by Karen Marie Moning. She just has, well, that extra something about her writing, that i can't really put my finger on. But i so wish i could write like that!

So what have you been reading that you would recommend?



As to Nano. Yesterday day 3, i churned out another 1,300 words! But today? Well, ah, a mere 300. In my defense this is the first time all day i've been on the computer. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book of your Heart vs Book to sell

eHarlequin, as part of their editorial week have a great podcast on this topic.
They talk about giving readers what they want and what they didn't know they wanted. This is the combination of a story of your book and a book to sell, which uses the themes and hooks of popular stories, but giving them your unique voice and twist.
It really is about how to stand out from the crowd and selling your book, and still writing the book of your heart.
Well worth a listen!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNo day 2


Word count today:1,376
First word: Damn
last word: door
Fav Line: (i have too many - or maybe i don't have any!)
Total Nano word count:  1,816

My word count is pitiful in comparison to some of the other NaNoers. Natalie Anderson, one of our very own published kiwis tapped out 4k! I'm going to have to be VERY disciplined to get that kind of word count per day.
But this is a great way to see how much others write daily and a great motivator too! I'm going to push for a much higher word count tomorrow - my day 3, lots of people's day 2.
Billie and Cooper finally had their night, with devastating results! Now Cooper has gone to fix it but found out Billie's big secret...I've left him about to knock on her door.
Oh i hope the words flow because it's getting really intense.
How are you all doing with your WIP's?

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo

A few of you probably already know what this is, for those who don't it means:
National Novel Writing Month. It should be INTERnational!

I've signed up this year through eHarlequin, basically because i can set my own goal instead of the 50k the real NaNo does.
You join the forum and check out how many words other are doing and get support and advice from the others in the community (I think!). I'll update as i go along.

It's 9pm on November 1st in NZ, i haven't written anything yet, but i'm guessing it's only morning in the UK - i think that's where eHarlequin are based.

Okay, so i'm about to get started and then will post my progress.
Good luck to those doing it! Should be fun - or at least get your story written :)

10pm added: 439 words tonight, pitiful, but i have a headache. Can't bear to stare at the screen any longer. Goodnight!
Words written today: 439
First line: With
Last line: mother
Fav line:

Quickly she gathered her clothes, moving in an elegant ballet of naked limbs and the scent of blueberries.


total NaNo words: 439.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And it's on!

The heat, the desire, the passion, we all know where it leads. I finally have my characters in the master bedroom, one screaming for release the other determined to make it last....
Oh and the results are going to be hot and bothersome, in more ways than one ;)  Have to torture these poor people before they get their HEA!

Oh and i'm going to have to realign my goal. I was hoping to finish this draft by the end of this month, but that was with the expectation i would have three afternoons without my daughter, but she isn't starting public kindy until January.
So new goal if to finish draft by end of november.

My process is painfully slow. I seem to need everything to be perfect, well as perfect as it can be!, straight away. I do the layering, the senses, the dialogue, EVERYTHING, on the first run then tweak it later. (I've done the first three chapters, ready for submission)
Also when it isn't working i take a break until the problem fixes in my subconsious or i suddenly figure out what to do to fix it! This draft has taken me since the beginning of April! a 7 month draft?!!
Well i know i am going to have to be MUCH faster if i ever want to be published - and i do, i really really do! I think i just need more discipline.

How do you write? Bare bones first then layering and editing or are you a perfectionist? How long does it take you to write that first draft?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Voices Top Four are in!

And Leah Ashton has made the cut!! Well done Leah.
Leah is one of my followers and has done an awesome job on her submissions! Go and have a read at The New Voices website
Of course if you like it keep an eye out for the next installment of the Pivotal Moment and get your votes in!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

MIA

Yep that's me. No writing this week!
No excuse really either. I had a baby gear sale this weekend so was sorting out all the baby stuff we had to sell that.
Really there were times i could have done some writing, but sadly i didn't!
What have you all been up to?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Standing out from the crowd

Well the list is up on the NV site and sadly i didn't stand out from the crowd as one they wanted to see more of.
What do you think makes someone's writing stand out from the crowd, what does it for you?
But that is not going to stop me from submitting. I think persistance is the key and also, the next two chapters show some really good character development and plot so they may change their minds once they have it and the Synopsis.

Argh. The Synopsis.
Off to write that one, but i am dreading it as i have changed my writing style and have become a Pantser. I'd found once i'd plotted everything out i was then bored and didn't want to write the story anymore!
Maybe if i make the synopsis a little vague...i do know how it will end and i have written 65% of the story, so surely that will be enough without ruining it for me!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First three chapters

That is what i'm working on.
Billie and Cooper's beginning. Re-titled The Price of Passion. I'm polishing and rewriting the start to submit to Harlequin.
I wasn't going to do this until i'd finished writing the entire ms. But prompted by the New Voices comp when i polished the first chapter, i decided why not do the first 3?!
Now i'm just waiting on the list on the NV site to see if i'm one of the ones they are going to be following up before i submit :)
What are you all up to?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Second Chance

The editors at New Voices are giving all the submissions a chance to get a critique! Just check out their latest post:



Want to know what the editors thought of YOUR submission?!

by Bethan Hilliard on Thursday 30 September, 2010, 2:59 PM

We've been listening...

...And we know that you guys would love to know more about what Romance HQ thought of your submission. And why wouldn't you?! You've all worked hard, been very brave and pressed the submit button! We're very proud of all of you...
In an ideal world, we'd give each and every one of you a critique, but that's a task beyond even our fabulous editors. So, what we'd like to do is give 10 of you the chance to find out what Romance HQ thought of your entry.

Like the sound of that?

We hope so! If you'd like to be in with a chance of getting a critique - and we'll be honest! - please leave a comment below this post. You have until 7pm GMT on Monday 4th October to do that. Then we'll put the names of everyone who has expressed an interest into a hat and pull out 10. We'll announce who they are on Tuesday 5th October and start posting on Thursday 7th October.
Warning - we'll be posting the critiques here on the New Voices site, so everyone else will be able to see what we thought as well. We hope it will help everyone to get an insight into how the editors tick!

And there's more!

As we've said so often, we were stunned with the quality of the entries and many of you have asked what that means... Well, there are a number of submissions that we'd really like to follow up. At the moment, Romance HQ is compiling a list of authors we intend to contact after the end of the New Voices competition. We will be posting that list in the middle of next week...
We would like to thank you all again for being part of New Voices. You've all beenutterly fabulous and this is our (small!) way of thanking you all for your hard work, enthusiasm, generosity and for all of the fun you've given Romance HQ over the last month!
Romance HQ. x


Of course i've left a comment, i want that feedback to improve, to learn! Make sure you leave a comment if you entered and want a chance to have your feedback too - (but of course it will be public so the others can learn too)
And you never know, there is that hope that i may be in that other list too :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top Ten are in!!!!

Go and check out the Top Ten!
Sadly i didn't make it, but that won't stop me from polishing my first three chapters and writing the dreading synopsis and sending that in the normal route.
I'm also going to read those top ten chapters and see if i can spot the 'magic' that editors were looking for!
Congrats top ten!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monthly Book Review - Overdue!

Wow, i forgot to do this last month!
I've just finished Good Girl or Gold-Digger? by Kate Hardy and it is fabulous!
Usually a Harlequin Presents - M&B Modern contains a really alpha male, but Felix doesn't come across so arrogant and it is a welcome change. Her hero's are so subtle.
And i just love her daisies scene! You have to read this one to find out what i mean, i'm going to remember this one for a very long time.



oh - and is anyone else checking their emails every fifteen minutes just hopeing they have got a message from New Voices, with the smallest chance they have made it to the Top Ten???




Friday, September 24, 2010

The Fabulous Lacey's Chapter!

Lacey Devlin has been so awesome as to create the awesome badge on my sidebar for the New Voice's competition. Many of the entrants for the comp have snagged themselves one and Lacey has created a 'Wall of Fame' on her blog, letting every one know the name of their entry a brief rundown of the chapter and of course the author's name.
But what about her own?
She silently slipped it in without telling anyone!
Misbehaving with the Retail Magnate features an internationally renowned blogger heroine and hot hero named Cooper (how could i not love him, he shares the same name as my own!). This chapter is so good! You have to check it out!!
Well done Lacey, and Good Luck :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hidden Comments at New Voices

Well, i was getting a bit discouraged that my story was worthy any comments over at the New Voices Competition!
Nicole had left a fantastic comment, and a had some great roses, but no more comments. I want to know what people think of my writing - doesn't everyone?!
But then i searched through all the 600 odd pages of the comments in the discussion section and found about 8 comments.
Billie has come across with a lot of spunk and sass, i have a good voice. I'm very excited!

But i'm also feeling rather daunted - There are hundreds of awesome chapters up there!! How is mine going to make it to the top ten?
Oh well, if it doesn't i'll just finish the rest of the story and send it through the normal line!
Good luck to the rest of you :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Voice

I've done it!
I've submitted my 1st chapter in the New Voices competition. The Price of Passion. Billie and Cooper's story renamed and reworked.
Click on the button in the sidebar and have a read - be sure to rate it or leave a comment so i know what you think! That is the reason why i've submitted it after all.
In the words of my husband "You may as well find out if you're any good or barking up the wrong tree"!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Backstory, POV, Problems, Oh my!

Yep, i'm having reworking and editing problems for my chapter for New Voices submission!
But probably so are a lot of people wanting to enter.
But i'm slowly working through them with the help of my fab writing buddy. In between the busyness of motherhood. I just hope it will be ready for my deadline of tomorrow :s

Friday, September 10, 2010

Too soon?

Arrrhh!
This is what is running through my head as i am editing and reshaping my first chapter for submitting for the competition.
I knew as i was writing my WIP i would have to edit and rework it but i was hoping to not have to until i'd finished and now i am doing it before i'm finished.
Am i doing it too soon, or will it make it stronger now?
Anyway, i'm cutting out quite a lot from the beginning as it has way too much of that dreaded backstory! Inevitable when you are working with characters who have a past, and a newbie writer :)
Now i'm trying to filter it in so it is more 'present' and makes sense while keeping the tension, and hopefully readable.
What do you think the word count should be for the first chapter? The conditions for the comp said no more than 10,000 but i think this is too many words for a first chapter personally, so do i do half this or do the whole lot???
Arrrhh!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gearing up to Submit

Yep that's right! I wasn't going to but i have decided to enter the New Voices competition with Mills and Boon.
It is open to the public, they will read the chapter and rate it, the judges take note and choose the finalists for the round 1, then round 2, then readers pick the winner!
When i asked my husband if i should enter he said "You may as well see if you are any good or barking up the wrong tree"!!
He loves me, supports me, doesn't want me to waste my time if it isn't going to get me anywhere (but i still will if i love it - don't tell him ;) ).
So i am revisiting chapter 1 of my WIP and editing and reshaping to whip it into shape for the public eye. Check out the link for the submissions so far! They are fab!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Impromptu Critique

I sent my WIP to my good friend at Damsel in a Dirty Dress for an impromptu critique last week and i must say it is a fantastic shake up to the moral and a firing of the writing cylinders!
I wasn't going to read through it, was going to wait until i'd finished the story, but at the rate i've been going i didn't know how long that was going to take! And i was curious...

I've been plodding along writing maybe one afternoon a week, between doing housework and things for the kids and helping out at kindy and i think putting it off - why? I'm enjoying this story but i guess i was getting to that point where i was thinking that it wasn't any good you know?

But this critique has been honest and pointed out things i hadn't seen, asked questions i hadn't thought of and well, shaken me up! No more putting it off.

It is worth writing, and i am going to write more often. My daughter is turning 3 in a few weeks and will be at kindy 5 afternoons a week which will give me more free time to do it, i'm just too tired in the evenings and know i don't do it even if i mean to in the evenings! So the afternoons is going to be the time for me! No more putting it off!

New goal: 1st Draft will be completed by end of October! I don't see why i can't do that seeing as i am 60% percent there, so this is actually a doable goal. And i have made it October just in case daughter doesn't get in to kindy until end of September.
So fingers, be prepared for more tapping!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I've been reading..and Writing!

Which is fantastic, because i have been really busy.
In 3 weeks my little girl is going to be 3 and i'm busy sewing dolls clothes for her little Baa Sheep and her horse Jilly. Do you know how expensive dolls clothes are? It's ridiculous!! Believe me, it's easier (cheaper!) to use the box of scrap material i have.

But besides that. I managed 1,000 words on Wednesday, AND a pilates workout!
I've also read two chapters of Kate Walker's fab book.
I feel so good this week, so am not even going to think about the horrid headaches i had too!

So, what did i learn in the 12 Point Guide?

First, Dialogue.
Do you struggle with it? I do. Maybe i don't know my characters enough, but sometimes i just can't seem to get them to talk! I am more of a narrative writer and Kate's advise for a truly compelling read is to make sure your book is 60% dialogue and 40% narrative - uh oh, i think mine is the opposite! but oh well, i'll tackle that in revisions :)
Dialogue is the best way for the reader to find out about the character, to create tension, and instead of writing all that narrative (ahem) you can use it affectively to SHOW not TELL what is going on and keep the characters and the reader in the present.
When you read do you sometimes find yourself skimming through the paragraphs to get to the 'good' bits? If you think about it, visually we are looking for the dialogue - so be sure to write lots of it!!
I am definitely going to try and do this more!

Next was on Focus and importantly to me was Flashbacks.
Kate's advice was if you can pepper it into the narrative in a way as to make it as present as possible without using a flashback, then do, as this keeps everything current, without diluting the tension. Or better yet, see if you can put it in the dialogue, another way to get it up to the 60%!

And a big question always for me is How do you know which Viewpoint to use for Which Scene?
She gives heaps of questions to ask yourself, like whose feelings are most at stake? Or which characters holds the most information, or which character do you want to withhold information from but who has the information? Which character do you want the reader to see the reactions to information?...
So if you struggle and re-write the same scene over and over from the different character's viewpoints just ask yourselves some questions and hopefully that will help!

Happy writing!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Conflicted about Conflict?

Internal conflict, External conflict, conflict, conflict, conflict!
Are you confused about what to use when and how much is too much?

Kate Walker is doing a really fab short course on her blog and is giving some golden tips to help sort out your muddle! You can even ask her questions and she may address them for you on her blog!

Luckily the chapter i was up to in the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance coincided with her course - Conflict!

In the book - and on the blog - she talks about adding layers, like an onion, not more conflict, like a car crash, then a burglary or a secret love child, then a suscpicious other woman, but more like deeper conflict. Something that adds to the conflict you already have for your characters. SOmething that heightens the tension.
The story should move in a W, with the characters solving the first part of their conflict only to discover another layer, or deeper problem they hadn't realised, then resolving that or it builds to the ultimate conflict the Black Moment!
And, you have to combine both the internal and the external conflict for this to be a truly compelling story!
And a little recap or lesson, in case you needed it.
Internal Conflict is the conflict that is happening inside the character - their emotions and reactions to situations (the External conflict).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Authorial Intrusion - a small lesson

Well, not as you would think!
A friend and i were discussing her story that she has been working on for a while now. We both have kids the same age and have limited writing time.
We both seem to have the same writing style. Writing copious notes in the pre-writing stage, like a plotter. Character profiles, plot outlines, though i have gone away from the plot outlines as these don't work for me anymore, my brain seems to think i have written the story and it's time for a new one thank you!

She has written about ten thousand words of her story and was re-reading her notes and realised she had deviated from her original heroine profile. In a bad way. She realised she preferred how she sounded in the original and not how she was turning out in the story.
This was good as she had come across some complications in her story where her character just wasn't working and she couldn't figure out why, now she knew.
The other complication she came across was that her characters were wanting to go another direction that where she wanted them to go. Deviating from her planned plot.

This is where my lesson comes in.
Authorial intrusion can be bad. Planned notes can be bad. Sometimes you have to let your characters take the lead, let them take you on a different path and see where it takes you, it may be a surprising route! My friend was dubious but i think willing to give it a go, for now!
What do you think?


Also, i've been teaching my son to read. We've often come across that tricky thing in the English language with the e at the end of words and i've just been telling him to ignore it. "It's just silent, sweetheart." His reply, "ok mum!" so trusting!
Then we were watching cartoons while on holiday in taupo when we took them to the snow at Mt Ruapehu and i found out the actual rule! and can now explain it to him - an you if you have ever wondered how to explain it to your young ones :)
The e at the end of a word changed the sound of the vowel to it's name, not it's sound.
Example, in "pin" the i is the phonetic i, but with the e on the end, for the word "pine" you say the letter i.
Understand?
Hope that clears it up!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Naughty...but surprised!

Well, after not writing anything on my WIP for a long time due to other commitments, i had lost the flow.
Couldn't get the motivation, the feel, you know?
So i decided to read a few books in the genre to get the feel for it again...Some brilliant category romances by my new favourite author Nicola Marsh...but then i don't think should have picked a favourite!
Her writing is fantastic - see previous post for my gushing :)

It made me feel really bad about my own WIP. It is too slow paced, my characters are boring, the premise isn't good enough...you know the drill. Doubt sets in!

So i did a naughty thing.

I opened my document and instead of writing i read from the beginning, with the pure intention of hitting the delete key!
Imagine my shock, and delight, when i discovered that it isn't as slow as i thought, the characters aren't as boring.
It is raw. But it's a first draft. It's my first stab at category romance and the books i've just read by my new fav author is something like her 20th published work! Geez.
End of chapter one, i was re-inspired and hit the keys to get the end of the document and continued where i'd left off.
1000 words later and i'm slowly but surely getting there! ... Well in between demands from my little princess asking for dolls clothes that is!

Have you had doubts in your writing, but then been surprised when you've re-read it?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monthly Book review


Overtime in the Boss's Bed by Nicola Marsh.

If you aren't a Mills and Boon reader that's okay, i wasn't in the past. They are a fantastic quick read. Right to the story, good characters, great story line, all about passion and heart and conflict - well depending on the line you choose of course :)

I just love Nicola Marsh. Her stories are fun, fast paced and... well you just have to read them to know what it is! She has that something about her stories that, despite the small size of the book, they really pack a punch!
I am traditionally a single title lover - you know the 100,000+ word novel. But her books are fantastic and this one...man!
Starr and Callum are hot, sassy and so good together you root for them right from page one! Go and buy it, you won't regret it!!

What did you read this month that you just have to gush about?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Addictions

Is there something you just can't seem to control? Something you have to do or have?

Recently i discovered an addiction and have done something drastic in order to curb it. Are you strong enough to stop?

My Her,o Cooper is addicted to the scent of blueberries, which incidentally is the scent in Billie's perfume. It seeps under his control, a control he is determined to keep a hold of, a control that is slipping with every whiff he gets of the juicy, tantalising, sinful scent on her skin...of course it doesn't help that the scent evokes all sorts of sinful memories designed to tempt a saint ;)

So 'fess up - what's you addiction?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Conflict workshop

Kate Walker is currently doing a mini Conflict workshop over on her blog
Some fantastic pointers to help us out! Check it out.
Today i learnt something i'd never considered before:

External conflict can bring your H and h together. I've always thought of it as driving them apart! Imagine that! It has opened up so many more possibilities....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Slow and steady?

Well, after about 5 weeks of no writing this afternoon i have read through a few scenes of Ten Nights and made a few tweaks and written part of a next scene, but only written about 400 words.
But, i should be looking at the big picture. At the beginning i had told myself that if i can write a sentence a day, at least i'm writing!
So i've started back into it, slowly....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Attention class!

Ahem, now that i have your attention...

The iPad is releasing in NZ in 3 days!!


Okay my happy dance is now over and back to the real reason for my post today.

I've been reading Kate Walker's fabulous 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.
Of course it covers the basics like what is romance?, and it is important to know your genre before you write it! Research people, research!
If you are writing about a sandy beach you must know first hand what it feels like between your toes if that is what your characters are feeling!

Kate really advises too, and we have probably all heard this before, but really we can't hear this often enough, study the line you are targetting. That is, that publishing house or agent or readership. You MUST know your target BEFORE you put pen (or fingers to keyboard) to paper. It will save heartache, time, and effort in the long run.

Another huge thing i picked up was that readers don't read your story to find out what happens. Generally they read to find out how it happens!
At least, this is certainly true for romance. We all know, that these characters are going to get their happily ever after, but how they get it is what the reader is reading for. And how you get the reader there is with EMOTION.
Kate Walker talks about using Page Turning Quality and emotional punch.
Make sure you have enough emotional punch in your story to keep your reader turning those pages to find out how the story develops!
But please also remember "getting to know you time". The poor reader can't be on a high the entire time just as the characters can't. They all need to get to know each other, so let them all have time to know their gentler sides, and connect with each other, to feel. Then when the emotion gets high, and we as writers are so mean and create that nasty conflict, the reader will flick those pages even faster.

Your task this week: Create some emotional punch, but remember to let the characters have some down time and get to know each other too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Which Writer are you like?

to do this just click on the little link bit of this badge and copy and paste a bit of your writing and it will analyze your style to find out what sort of writer you are like!


I write like
William Gibson

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




Now: Who is William Gibson?
He is a science fiction author who coined the term "cyberspace".

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Halfway lag

Oh dear! I have found myself lacking motivation to even open my pages document to write!
I have finished editing Nicole's fabulous story Birthright and man is it good! I really can't wait to read the next installment.



To get me back into the motivational vent of Modern Heat i have the newest book by Nicola Marsh , Overtime in the Boss's Bed and i really can't wait to read this one. Nicola's books are so great to read. spunky and fun and they just sizzle!


I'm also going to start Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Romance
and keep you updated with my progress through the exercises so stay tuned :)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review

I haven't done one of these before on my blog, but i thought it may be nice at the beginning of each month to do a review of a book i have read. It will be a chance to hear what you have been reading too!

For my birthday i was given Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Hmm. Well. It's not something i would have bought myself. I think it is sacrilegious of Jane Austen's classic and my favourite novel. But as it was a gift from my kids (via my husband!) I gave it a go.

From curiousity to see how the death and zombies was interwoven with the society and propriety, it was rather amusing if nothing else. At times some parts didn't stay true to character, why would a battle hard woman simper and cry?, but otherwise it was done well.
If you are curious, or forced to read by obligation or don't want to hurt someones feelings, it is an amusing read, with some surprising twists to characters. But i still maintain it is sacrilegious of a major literary classic.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Method Writing

My friend, Nicole MacDonald, has written a fabulous post on her blog, Damsel in a Dirty Dress about Method Writing and it must have gotten my brain firing.
I was making my bed this afternoon - yes afternoon - we've had a busy day!! And there i was talking out loud as my character Billie! Laughing and grinning talking to my sister (her sister) about going on a date with Cooper!
So i quickly finished the bed and jumped on the computer and typed up the scene. It is the first words i have written in four weeks due to the editing i am doing, and it feels fantastic to be back into it!
I am going to try to do it everyday whilst still editing Nicole's story. Which is going to be hard due to it now being school holidays. Ah the joys of being a parent!
Do you method write?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Editing

You may know that i am currently editing my friend's novel.
I've also been reading some of the writing books i have on my shelf, Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon and The Art of Romance Writing by Valeria Parv.
My goodness, just reading these and then reading through someone else's work is helping to sharpen my own writing! I have picked up things my friend is doing, thereby helping her by drawing her attention to it so she doesn't do it again (I hope!) and noticing that i do it myself!!

I highly recommend getting yourselves some craft books and even helping a friend by editing or even reading someone else's work in the editing stage. It really does help your own writing!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Editing Contest

Wow, there is an awesome contest up for grabs here. at C A Marshall.blogspot.com
You just need to do a few things to gain entries to go in the draw to win an edit of a manuscript, and the lovely lady with even wait up to a month for you to complete it! What are you waiting for? :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

two for one!


Wow, when it rains it pours! I now have another two blog awards!!

Francine has awarded all her followers the Happily Ever After Award.

All you have to do is answer this question to qualify:
Which celebrity would you invite out for an evening of wining and dining?
my answer: Brendan Fraser. (i think this answer would surprise even my husband! I would have gone with David Boreanaz, but he is now a cheater!)

Julie Musil has awarded me this Versatile Blogger award so i need to reveal 7 random facts about myself. Although i think i have revealed enough, i will try to think of a few more :)
1. I have only been drinking coffee for the past 15 months
2. I have been having daily migraines for 15 months and the doctors can't find a reason why.
3. The coffee drinking helps lessen the headaches.
4. When i drink hot chocolate or lattes, i turn the cup with each sip so as not to leave any foam around the edge of the cup. Does that make me a little bit obsessive?
5. When i write i start with pen and paper in note form then progress to the computer.
6. Since having children i've discovered i have no patience!
7. I have a cat called Rascal and she is very aptly named!

I am awarding these to all my followers who would like these awards and don't have them yet :) Enjoy!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Blog Award!


Honest Scrap! Huh, who knew?
Well thanks Nicole!

So, um, ten things about me that you may not know, but that you may be interested to know....

1. I have a strong personality, but when it comes to conflict, i run! I hate it, i would rather write how i feel in a letter than argue face to face. It sure saves the arguments in our house, but it also means i'm always frustrated with the way things are done!
2. i never have enough time in the day to do all the things i want - so many craft things, cards, scrapbooks, sewing... i'm rather fond of doing crafts!
3. i did springboard and platform diving for 11 years. I think i can still do the splits :)
4. I have two beautiful, fiesty children who keep me on my toes! Check out my family blog!
5. I'm enrolling in an early childhood degree to start next year. This will be my back up incase i don't get published ;)
6. I would really love a great big St Bernard dog, but my husband doesn't like dogs! I fear i will never have a dog :( We had a small shaggy bitser when i was a child, called scruffy and i loved him to bits!
7. I often get so lost in my fiction world, i am annoyed with the 'real' world and wish it was the fiction world! With my family with me of course :)
8. I am lucky enough to stay at home and write two mornings a week while my kids are at kindy :) It is fantastic!
9. Um, i'm running of things i think you may want to know about me :)
I get my writing ideas from snippets of songs, random sentences spoken on the radio, dreams, a random thought in my head, and sometimes even a feeling!
10. I'm a list person. Everything is written down. What i'm going to do today, what we will pack when we go away, groceries....everything! I think that gives you an idea that i like to be organised or even i may be controlling. But if you looked at my house you would know i am really messy!! LOL

Okay so five awesome blogs i would like to award the Honest Scrap award to for, to me, being honest and open about what they blog about, are:






Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Learning my Craft, take 2


Yes, my second book has arrived!

Manuscript Makeover - Elizabeth Lyon

from the barnes and noble website this is what the book contains:

Professional editor and author Elizabeth Lyon offers aspiring novelists the guidance and instruction they need to write and edit well-crafted and compelling stories that will stand out from the competition and attract the attention of agents and publishers, including:

- Stand-out style techniques, from accessing an authentic voice to applying techniques of "wordsmithing" that transform prose
- How to rewrite characterization for dimensionality, a universal need, and theme
- Adjustment suggestions to match the prose style and structure of specific genres
- Correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style
- Strategies to strengthen story beginnings and endings
- Methods for increasing plot stakes, creating movement, and adjusting pace for maximum suspense
I don't remember where i saw this one, but it was from one of the blogs i follow and has been on my list of books to buy for ages. I can't wait to dive into this one! This sounds like it will help with re-writing and editing and i hope will just be wonderful!
Of course i will keep you posted with my thoughts :)

I'd still like to hear what books have helped you on your writing journey!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Learning my Craft


I'm so excited! I was given some money for my birthday so i used it to invest in my writing and have bought some writing books.

The first one arrived today: Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.

I can't wait to dive in and have already read the contents pages and the introduction (can you tell i'm a bit of a geek?!).
Right off Kate has said she wants this book to help with my writing so she has intended this book to be like a workshop, with mini questions at the end of each chapter. So i thought as i read and take the notes as she advises, i would post them here so you can track my progress!

Of course i won't be doing that until i have finished editing my friend's novel or i will so busy i won't be able to think straight!

What books have you read to help shape your writing career?

From Kate's website - (i have a link to her site on my sidebar!) i got the information that the book contains and have included it below :), which is also in the book. I am really looking forward to it!

The book explains:

  • How to write emotion and create PTQ (page turning quality) in your novels
  • How to create conflict amidst your characters and why it is a major essential component in your novel.
  • Why dialogue is the lifeblood of your knowledge
  • How to make dialogue sound realistic
  • How to make your characters real
  • How to create the required sharp focus on your hero and heroine
  • How to develop supporting characters that work
  • Why flashbacks are important in some stories and how to create them in your novel.
  • Why sensuality is important and how you can develop sensuality between your hero and heroine
  • How to pace the development of the romance that is occurring between your hero and heroine
  • How to write the love scene between your hero and heroine and the importance of 'after'
  • The importance of the hero and his essential ‘vital vulnerability’.
  • The filter role of the heroine for the reader
  • The heroine’s 21st Century response to conflict
  • How to answer the question ‘why?’
Join me soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Copyright


Well i think this is a bit of a touchy subject for writers.
Touchy? Well maybe more of a concern :)
We have some great ideas, we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and then we send it off to the publishers/agents and then the thought pops into our head - i'm not the only one right?! -
"Oh, my god! What if someone steals my story? Or my idea?"

The truth is that they are more than likely too busy to steal it! And if they have an idea they are just as likely to ask an author on their books to write a story about it.

My friend on her blog Damsel in a Dirty Dress, has done some research on copyright and she has some awesome links if you want to check this out in more detail.
She found these facts which she's kindly let me copy here:

Copyright automatically applies as soon as the work is put in material form – i.e written, performed, broadcast etc including works on an internet site.

Protects all works whether or not the copyright symbol is shown.

Prevents piracy and unauthorised use of works.

Lasts for the lifetime of the author PLUS fifty years from the end of the year of death.

So that is a bit of a relief!