Showing posts from October, 2012

Why Do NaNoWriMo?

I’ll be doing some posts on NaNoWriMo. There are a million ways to write a book, a million ways to start, a million ways to slog through, a million ways to finish. These will be my personal tips for NaNoWriMo. They may not work for you. They may not even work for me. It helps me to write them down, and if it helps you too, awesome. My advice will be a little different than the official NaNo handbook. I'm big on outlining at the moment, so I won't be using a seat-of-the-pants approach. That’s not to say, however, that there is a place for the kind of break-neck, no-inner-critic writing NaNo is famous for. But I think that too works best when you have some idea where you’re going. This may depend on how experienced you are at writing. NaNo and its methods are strongly geared toward pushing first-timers into the arms of their virgin book. What I have in mind may be of more use for writers who already have a few under the belt. My friend Michelle Davidson Argyle h

NaNoWritMo Schedule

Here's the schedule for NaNoWriMo, which you can also find on their site (I assume) and in the emails: November 1 : Write your first 1,667 and feel great about embarking on this wild, wordy adventure. Tell your inner editor to take a hike for the next 30 days, or else. Watch him/her/it skedaddle, and heave a sigh of relief. November 2 : Check your  NaNoMail  early and often for pep talks from staff and published authors, messages from your fellow Wrimos, and updates from your regional Municipal Liaison (AKA magical ninja heroes of noveling goodness). To stay extra-informed about everything happening in NaNoLand, you can also like our  Facebook page , follow us on  Twitter , and keep up with our  daily blog posts . November 3 : Take some time this weekend to stockpile writerly rewards. When you reach a word-count goal, you'll have a treat at the ready to reinforce your admirable dedication to this project. November 5 : You hit your weekend target of 6,668 words (or not—that&

10 Spooky Books for Halloween

Neil Gaiman has a brilliant idea: why not make it a tradition to read spooky books on Halloween? It's like telling ghost stories, in print. Headsmack, right? Why didn't we all think of that? Anyway, I'm all for any excuse to read books. And I've been gobbling up some great ghosties for Halloween. Here's my recommendations for all ages, starting with the book I wrote for my own tots (but of course!) and moving on up the Scary Scale. Title:   My First Book About Halloween Author: Tara Maya Age : 6 months - 3 years Blurb: It's a cute book with simple words and fun pictures. My 2 year old and 3 year old love it and my 6 year old can read it (with just a little help). It's 20 pages illustrated, and normally $2.99 but it will be FREE on Halloween itself, on Amazon. If you want it as a pdf, you can email me and I'll send it to you free. Scary Level: Cute . The scariest part is the monster lurking in the haunted house...who turns out to be a mou

Kid's Corner - My First Book About Halloween - Children's Picture Book

                    Read the rest: on Amazon or email me for the pdf at Buy this book on Amazon

15 Greatest Avengers Quotes

"Aren't the stars and stripes a little... old fashioned?" Tony Stark: The Avengers. It's what we call ourselves, sort of like a team. "Earth's Mighiest Heroes" type thing. Steve Rogers: When I went under, the world was at war. I wake up, they say we won. They didn't say what we lost. Tony Stark: Dr. Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster. Bruce Banner: Thanks. Steve Rogers: Is everything a joke to you? Tony Stark: Funny things are. Steve Rogers: How can you not trust Fury? Tony Stark: He's a spy, he's THE spy. His secrets have secrets.  Thor: We on Asgard pretend that we are more advanced, but we, we come here battling like Bilgesnipe. Steve Rogers: Stark, we need a plan of attack! Tony Stark: I have a plan: attack! Loki: I am Loki, of Asgard and I am burdened with glorious purpose.  Bruce Banner: I don't think

WiP Wednesday - Excerpt from Blood - Autumn Pixies!

It's tricky to find excerpts from Blood I can share with you that don't contain too many spoilers! This is a nice scene for October, since the autumn pixies show up to pester Dindi.... "The slender girls wore crunchy skirts of fall leaves..." (Art by Anne Stokes ) At night’s tail, just before dawn, pixies jumped up and down on Dindi’s head until she had a headache, and kept jumping, until she woke up to shoo them off. “You have got to be kidding me,” she groaned. “What is wrong with you fae? Have you never heard of sleep ?”   She rubbed her eyes, fighting déjà vu. Hadn’t she just been poked awake by pixies a few hours ago?  Once again finger-sized pixies thronged around her sleeping mat, but this time instead of flori, they were all foli, autumnal pixies, mostly Orange, Yellow and Red. The slender girls wore crunchy skirts of fall leaves, and the boys caps and shields made from acorn tops and walnut shells. Kinnaras, bird-winged sprites, feathere

Pancake Sunday Advice on Novel Writing

It's pancake Sunday and we've got the whole gang, kids and cousins, here to chow, so this will be a sweet stack with some bacon on the side! And what the heck does that mean ? Moving on to writing rules...  Rules?! We don't need no stinkin' rules! But I love 'em anyway. As we approach NaNo, it's time to start scouring the new and the bookshelf for the best advice out there. Here's some insights I thought were spot on (the numbering is off). Visit the blog to read the whole thing : I outline, but my outlines vary; I’ve written novels of 90K words where the outline was 30K in itself. I’ve written novels with 500 word outlines that have come in at 120K. The purpose of the outline is to map the journey in my opinion, but it is not the law. Oh, outlines? Hello, YES. I mentioned a while ago I was experimenting with a "rich outline" that's almost more like a draft for Book 6. How has that been working out? Extremely well, as it happens. I

Should Writers Blog About Writing?

Here's the problem with writers who blog. What should we blog about? It seems like we're always being told what NOT to blog about. To wit, you may be have received advice like this: 1.) Don't write about yourself. No one wants to hear about what you had for breakfast, or your cat's vet appointment. 2.) Don't write about writing. That appeals to other writers--not to your readers. 3.) Don't write about politics or other incendiary topics. That will alienate half or more of your audience. If you take this advice seriously, the first thing you'll notice is that most other writers don't. There are highly successful writers (who are also highly successful bloggers), like David Brin and John Scalzi , who blog about whatever stuff they want, including politics. There are gobs of other great bloggers, like Michelle Davidson Argyle , Lindsey Buroker and Joe Konrath , who write about writing. There are others who blog on specialty interests which have

Why Does Your First Chapter Suck?

When all else fails, add pixie dust.   The first chapter is the door to the rest of the book. The first chapter is a fist of firsts: first sentence, first hook, first introduction to the cast of characters, first goal, first twist, first turn, and first cliffhanger. Newbie writers know this, and try to stuff everything into the first chapter. And it sucks big time. So what went wrong? The newbie scratches her head, and re-reads one or two famous books in her genre and discovers … HEY! What the heck? Mr. Famous Writer didn’t put in any of that stuff about Theme and Setting and Backstory That Makes You Love The Character, and so on. What’s going on? There are four possibilities. 1. Mr. Famous Writer has banked on previous successes but made a hash of it this time, out of laziness. 2. Mr. Famous Writer’s book succeeded despite, not because of, the first chapter. 3. Mr. Famous Writer knows how to break the rules in a way that still works—and in a way that Newbie Writ

The Goddess of Dance

Today I'm thrilled to join Anna Kashina 's blog tour for her newest novel, The Goddess of Dance .  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Tell us about THE GODDESS OF DANCE. To pursue her love, the princess must fight the impossible odds. On one hand, mysterious god-like powers are after her for what she has done. On the other -- her father, the sultan, is forcing her to fulfill her duty to her country by marrying a neighboring prince she does not care for. And, on top of that, she is haunted by mysterious dreams of a girl learning the powerful ancient art of the sacred dance. In the novel, the princess will go though many deadly trials in her impossible quest to be reunited with the man she loves. THE GODDESS OF DANCE is book 2 in a series, isn't it? Do the readers need to start with book 1? It is book 2, but the story is a stand-alone and I hope the readers can enjoy it without any knowledge of the previous events. Boo

Which is the Trickiest Book in a Trilogy?

Which is the trickiest book in a trilogy to write? Probably the second book. During the first book, you're still on that adrenaline rush. The third book (if you've planned your ending at least) is the big climax, so it's just a small matter (ha ha ha ha) of tying of loose strings. But, oh, that second book. That dread middle! Elana Johnson has a great post on this: I think Book Two is the hardest. Let's just get that out in the open up front. The author has the challenge of living up to Book One, and the characters aren't new. The world isn't new. The problems aren't new. We got to see all of those things in the first book, so Book Two usually suffers from Little Sister Syndrome. In fact, in my exploration of trilogies, I read many (MANY) a second book that I felt was exactly like the first. I felt like I'd read the same book twice. If your first book has already been published and found some fans, you're problem is worse. Now you have the

WiP Wendesday - Excerpt from Blood

They swam away too quickly for her to follow. “She’s not a bird,” Yastara laughed. Lothlo grinned. “Let’s see if she’s a fish." Before Dindi knew the rules of this new torment, they shoved her off the snowy outcrop, straight below into the ice cold water of the glacial lake. They jumped in after her, changing to fish. She floundered. Though she could swim, the water was so cold, it drove her to panic, and the choppy water didn’t help. The fae fish batted her around with their tails, bit her clothes and dragged her down. Dindi fought off drowning. She struggled to push the water back under her rather than over her. She broke the surface, but only when they deigned to release her. They were merfolk now, with fishy tails but their own faces and torsos, laughing at their joke.  They swam away too quickly for her to follow. They had left her in the deep of the lake, no minor swim to shore. She forced her tired arms to swim. Exhaustion and hyperthermia al

Why Do Authors Make Readers Wait?

One of the rules--proved upon the soiled reputations of authors who have dared break it--is that authors should never respond to reviews. This is good advice, and I've never strayed. Until now. In an Amazon review, one person commented: The only thing I hate about this series is that since they have all already "been written" according to the author, why am I waiting? I think that is nothing but cruelty. Ouch. If there are readers out there who indeed imagine that I have the entire series, perfect and polished, lurking on my hard-drive, and that I have been withholding this product from readers for no reason except to toy with my fans, as some sort of cruel fae might ... I feel obligated to demure. The opposite is true. I bring you the books as fast as I can ; indeed, given that I rush my editor and typos slip through, perhaps faster than I should . I am of course to blame for the delay, but this is a fault in my abilities, not in my intentions. I have a ter

How To Write A Series - 03 - Expanse

A story requires a certain heft or breath or extension to justify a series -- what I'll call expanse. But it also needs a degree of cohesion to link the volumes of the series. This tension between expanse and cohesion is what makes for a good series. Expanse can apply to one or more categories: 1. Length Length is the first obvious test of a series. Some series are essentially one long story , split into separate volumes mostly for convenience. Possibly, as digital books replace paper books, the rational behind splitting the books up will not be a strong. We might see some authors publishing 500,000 or 1,000,000 word "novels." But I suspect even in that case, the story would be subdivided into sections of some sort. The cohesion of a long story is easy to see if it has the same protagonists, antagonists, theme and story arc. 2. Cast  Cast is the number of major players involved in the story. The basic rule of thumb is that the more major characters there are --

Awesome Shows With Paranormal / Dystopian Hotties

Have you seen the hotties on the new slew of paranormal and dystopian shows? Yuuuuummy. I salute my new faves. SPOILERS ALERT!!! Revolution: Genre : Dystopia Premise : Despite the fact that nation states long preceded electricity, enduring thousands of years in much the same borders, and often with much the same form of governance, a sudden lack of iPhones able to play Angry Birds leads to the instant destruction of the United States. Everyone resorts to crossbows and thuggery. Hotties To Watch Out For : Charlie is a badass heroine, who goes looking for her uncle--who turns out to be pretty badass himself. But the romance to keep your eye on is between Charlie and arrow-wielding Nate, who turns up to rescue her from some thugs and accompanies her on her journey. What Keeps Them Apart : [ SPOILER! ] Nate works for the Bad Guy...he's been spying on the heroine the whole journey. Youch! Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson flourishes her crossbow in "Revolution.&qu