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

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.
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 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?