Monday, January 31, 2011
by Tambra Kendall
Through the years, I've found most creative people don't create in only one area. They are like me. Besides writing fiction, nonfiction for my classes along with articles, I also am a watercolorist.
My spare bedroom in my house has my sewing machine. In my backyard I have my art studio where my art supplies and craft items reside.
Does any of this sound familiar?
My Muse isn't limited to writing only. Boxing him/her in is a big no-no. Creativity is alive and fluid. You never know what or when it will spark.
Cooking is another area where the muse can be inspired. Food is a visual, sensual experience that feeds body and soul.
Two areas my Muse is pulling me toward is getting my fantasy art prepared and ready to sell and writing song lyrics. My song writing experience is extremely limited. I tried my hand at it back in 1988. Since I'm being strongly led, I'll focus on those areas along with finishing my writing project.
I can hear people saying how am I going to get all of this done. Good question.
I'm a slow writer. If I want to accomplish all of this I need to write faster (but write to the best of my ability)and submit more.
Will I accomplish all of this? Who knows. The fun is the journey.
When the art is ready I'll post more details. <---Accountability
Don't limit yourself or your Muse. The opportunity to spread your wings is everywhere. Do something everyday to help you reach your goals.
Our books won't write themselves. Paintings won't paint themselves.
Let your creativity explode! Go and do something fun and new. Give yourself and your Muse permission to step outside of the boundaries.
Friday, January 28, 2011
My mother used to have a phrase that she liked to throw at me a lot when I had to do something I didn’t want to do. “Think of it as a learning experience.” Well, this has certainly been a learning experience. My first broken bone. My first ride in an ambulance. My first experience with crutches. And the first time since I turned sixteen (don’t do the math, it’s scary!) that I have been physically unable to drive for a long period of time.
Do you have any idea how frustrating that is?! I need to ask someone to take me to the grocery store. I need to have a coworker pick me up for work each morning, and drop me off at night. I have to get someone to ferry me back and forth to church. I’ve missed the last three choir practices because I couldn’t find anyone to give me a ride. It’s maddening! If this is a leaning experience, then the thing I have learned the best is that I love my car, and driving is a fundamental part of my life.
So, what else have I learned from this? Don’t walk on ice, it’s slippery. Be nice to absolutely everyone – I never know when I will have to depend on them for rides. It’s a whole lot farther from the living room to the kitchen when I am hopping around on crutches. (Maybe I’ll lose some weight) Sometimes the stairs are easier to negotiate on my butt.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
You know, it really amazes me that some authors can be so absolutist -- is that even a word? Hope so. Otherwise, boy do I feel dumb *eye roll* -- about their likes and dislikes when it comes to the techniques that other pubbed authors use.
I can accept it from readers because there's always the chance that one day, they might pick up a book that's so absorbing and well-written, their particular personal reading dislike won't even register and they'll go, "Wow, that was amazing!"
But when I hear authors saying they "hate" this technique, and they would "never" read a book written like that, then I get just a wee bit irritated.
Because I think it's short-sighted. And potentially career limiting.
Don't hate on me quite yet. Because yeah, I know that we authors don't have as much time as we'd like to indulge in the pleasure of reading. And when we do scrape up a precious block of free time to indulge, most of us are going to be reading a sure thing: something that we know we'll enjoy.
But here's the thing: You might be denying yourself the chance of examining how a really clever author sweeps the reader away and makes them totally forget that they don't like a particular style of book.
You might be denying yourself the opportunity of reading something out of your usual comfort zone and having one of those incredibly enlightening "Aha!" moments -- you know the moment I'm talking about, the one where something clicks in your brain and you go, "OMG!"
And that moment of pure clarity might just push you to the next level in your own writing.
Here are some examples I've heard time and time again from published authors.
1) I hate 1st person POV. I will never read a book written in 1st person.
People say they think it's too limiting to stick to only knowing what the heroine knows, and don't like not being able to see inside the hero's head and know what he's thinking.
I've read some brilliant books written in 1st person that manage to get around all those limitations, and have taken me on a ride that leaves me breathless. Believe me, I know exactly what's going on in their heroes' heads because their heroes show me with every word they say to the heroine, with every gesture they make toward her, and every action they take.
Yes, it's filtered through the eyes of the heroine, but even when she doesn't "get" where he's coming from, and what he's trying to do, and why he's acting the way he is, the authors I admire make certain that I sure get him. And I'm sure as heck cheering for him to win that stubborn woman over, even if he has to employ whatever devious means possible to convince her that he's the one for her.
It takes discipline and skill to make a reader truly care for a hero that's only seen through heroine's eyes. (And even more skill to make me care about this hero over multiple books in a series!) These authors spring immediately to mind when I think of books written in 1st person heroine's POV that make me care deeply about the hero, too:
Lilith Saintcrow: Dante Valentine series & Jill Kismet series
Ilona Andrews: Kate Daniels series
Janet Evanovich: Stephanie Plum series (Morelli or Ranger? Personally I'm hot for them both!)
Rachel Caine: Weather Wardens series
Elizabeth Vaughan: Warprize series
Jacqueline Carey: Kushiel series
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl: Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness
2) I hate books that head hop/ use multiple points of view.
I've heard people say it's undisciplined and the sign of an inexperienced writer. It's too distracting. It's too hard to keep track of all the points of view.
All I have to say to that is, Nora Roberts, anyone?
Her POV switches are so seamless I barely even notice them, and when I do, I'm too caught up in the story to give a damn. And sure, maybe she can get away with it because she's, like, Nora Freaking Roberts! But more likely, I believe, it's because she writes so damned beautifully that no one is ranting about head hopping when they're reading her books. For me, I don't remember ever being pulled out of one of her books and putting on my "author" hat. I'm too "in" the story to be considering how she writes, or what techniques she's using.
Another author I'd like to mention is James Patterson and his Maximum Ride series. In The Angel Experiment he switches from Max’s 1st person POV, to telling parts of the story that Max isn’t present for in another character’s 3rd person POV. So "I' switches to "he" or "she". Throughout these switches, even when she's not a POV character, Max provides an anchor for the story, and this technique allows all the events appear to unfold in chronological order.
Everything we're told about "the rules" leads us to believe this should be a big fat no-no, right? Way too confusing to read, right?
It's not. It works. And even if you don't like the story (I happen to love it, BTW) you can still appreciate the skill with which it's written and learn something from it.
And if YA isn't your thing, and you'd like a really fascinating (not to mention super-hot and most definitely not for the teens!) example of a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, check out Erica Hayes' Shadowfae. It's written mainly in 1st person from heroine Jade's POV, with scene cuts to the hero written in 3rd person present tense. You'd think this abrupt POV and tense switch would jar and make us author-readers go, WTF? Instead it's WOW! Just.... wow.
Here's an example of a POV/tense switch in Shadowfae:
Invisible, Rajahni Seth watches Jade stalk by in the entranceway, inches away. Compelled, he lifts his hand to touch her shining hair, making her jump. She's even more beautiful now she's fed, her skin glowing, her eyes alive like a stormy ocean. Watching Kane kiss her, the demon's eager sensual tongue stroking her lips, sent spasms of fury through him, but it was worth it to see her like this. Glorious.Oooh. That still gives me shivers.
The rampant itch attacking his skin has subsided now he's answered Kane's silent summons, but he waits, and only when the door click shut and Jade is gone does Rajah shed his cloak and reappear.
Burning fingers squeeze his throat, crashing him into the wall. Sandstone ridges jam into his spine, pain flaring, and hot demon breath caresses his lips, the ashy taste searing his mouth dry. "Rajahni Seth," hisses Kane, an inch from Rajah's face. Sharp fingernails sink into Rajah's throat, warm blood trickling. "Give me Nino's soul."
3) I hate 1st person present tense.
I'm not an avid fan of entire books written in it either. But I do see more and more of it in YA. And for me, if it's done well, I believe it's an excellent writing technique to convey a sense of pure in-the-moment immediacy -- which I think contributes to the reader fully experiencing all that emotional turmoil and angsty introspection along with the teen characters they're reading about.
An interesting example of this is Jenny Downham's Before I Die. The last scene deals with the death of the main character... in 1st person present tense. Think about it.
Does it work? Yep. I cried buckets. And I won't let my daughter read it because it's so heartbreaking and so real.
So there you go.
I'm not stating that you have to like all these techniques, or that you should use them in your own writing -- I'd never dare to be that absolutist ;-) And hey, taking risks is not always the way to go about getting published!
What I'm trying in my clumsy way to say is this: As authors, we're always told to read widely. So please don't limit yourself. Even if you despise this, that, or the other writing technique with a vengeance that should only be reserved for that beyotch who pretended to be your BFF and stole the boy you were crushing on in high school out from under your nose, get over it. Suck it up and read something you’ve vowed you’d never read. Who knows, you might have your own personal Eureka! moment. And your Muse might just love you for it.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I'm also in the process of agent hunting, so to distract myself before I begin the sequel of the book coming out with Carina Press in September, I thought I'd try an erotic romance palate cleanser. I dunno, it seemed to work for me. I think I enjoyed myself a little too much, to be honest :)
If my vanilla menage story gets contracted it will be under my naughty pen name, but I'll certainly let you know.
Best of luck to all of you out there with submissions to agents and editors. We can all suffer the agony of suspense together :)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
— William Faulkner
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I decided to write my weekly post this morning (NZ time) rather than late yesterday afternoon as I usually do, because I figured later on this morning I might have something semi-interesting to post about.
Why? Because right now it's Friday the 21st January, 11:15 a.m. NZ time, and today is my birthday. And it turns out I was right: I've had a magical morning that I'd like to share with you.
I gotta say, by the time you've had as many birthdays has I have -- and let's just say I'm now officially nearer 50 than 40 and leave it at that -- it's the little things that make birthdays special.
Things like this:
Your kids waking you up at 7 a.m. on the dot to wish you happy birthday.
Foregoing your birthday sleep-in to share the bed with your kids and the cat. (Might need a king-sized bed next year, LOL.)
Opening up handmade birthday cards from your kids and reading the most amazing, heartfelt messages about how much they appreciate you being their mom.
Discovering your daughter has taken the shiny white gift wrap and the fancy, way-cool designer tape her dad bought, and customized the gift wrap, before wrapping your gift. (You bet I opened it really carefully and saved the gift wrap!)
Discovering DH bought a bottle of champagne and a box of fancy handmade chocolates, and he's bought them back to bed. Better still, he's hopped back into bed to share them with you, because he's arranged to miss a work function and go into work late.
Watching your son walk very carefully into your bedroom because he's juggling a plunger of "proper" coffee and two cups with just the right amount of milk. Magic!
And then your daughter follows him in bearing a bowl of cornflakes with no milk... because she's arranged the cornflakes in your bowl into a heart-shape. (The milk came separately, BTW.)
Watching your kids angst over which gorgeous, hand-decorated chocolate to choose from the box.
Saying, to heck with it, let's eat the entire box of chocolates with breakfast! And seeing the delight on your kids' faces, because these are pretty darned expensive chocolates, and they know I'm a chocoholic, and they had told me they'd only have one each, and the rest were mine.
Discovering that chocolates don't just go beautifully with champagne, and very well with coffee, but they're fantastic with cornflakes, too.
Turning the ribbons decorating the gifts into earrings. And watching my son and my husband clown around with these hideously garish things dangling from their ears.
Unwrapping a new steering-wheel cover that DH helped the kids choose. My old one is tattered and I keep catching my fingernails in it. The kids noticed because -- unsurprisingly -- most of the time I'm using the car to ferry them round the place.
Laughing out loud when DH dares son to try to use the steering-wheel cover as a hula hoop... and he accepts the dare.
Basking in their laughter and storing these precious moments in my memories.
Listening to daughter debate with son what kind of birthday cake they're going to bake me. (I don't care what kind of cake it is, or how it turns out. It's enough that it'll be flavored with love.)
Knowing that DH is going to cook tonight, even if he's tired after a week at work and some really late nights working on a project, so I don't have to cook.
Accepting lots of extra hugs and kisses.
It doesn't get much better than this. No, actually, it doesn't get any better than this!
P.S. Feel free to leave me a Happy Birthday, Maree! comment.... not that I'm hinting or anything ;-)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
She gave him a sympathetic smile and kept talking to me. "I'm having an x-ray too. I live in a home for the mentally ill, you know."
Wow. Talk about candid. "Oh," I said politely.
"Yeah, my doctor says my mind's muddled all the time."
"Mine's muddled right now too."
She whipped her head around to gape at me, and her eyes widened. "Do you hear voices too?"
I'm sure my expression went blank for a moment. At first I wasn't sure how to answer her, but I quickly laughed and said, "Well, sort of. I'm a writer, so I hear my characters in my head. Does that count?"
A huge smile lit her face. "I'm a writer too! I write when I get manic, but I've stopped sending my stuff to other people to read because they always pick it apart and then I get down on myself."
Oh yeah. I know all about that part of being a writer. Since I'm in the midst of querying agents again on my latest project, I know that feeling well :)
It was an interesting conversation, to say the least, and not what I had expected while sitting in the radiology waiting area. But it got me thinking. Maybe all of us writers are a little neurotic.
We hear voices. After all, if you can't hear and see the characters in your head clearly, how the heck can you write about them? And let's be honest; some of the best writers in the world are a little...out there, if you know what I mean. Really, aren't we all a little nuts to spend countless hours parked in front of a keyboard, writing about imaginary people that seem real to us? And crazy? Let's not talk about the often grueling road to publication after you've finished said story. Jeez, maybe we are nuts.
Wait. You hear voices too, right?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Synopsis writing after finishing a novel is like afterbirth.
Here you've gone through hours of hard labor to bring forth this beautiful creation and all you want to do is rest before showing it to the world. But wait, the work is not done yet. You still have to crap out this horrible little thing that is never going to see the light of day, aside from a few lit agents and or editors. Just because it's small and unattractive, doesn't mean it's less vital though. Because if you don't do this, you won't ever be able to leave the hospital, to show your baby to the world.
I don't know why, but I don't hate writing a synopsis. I used to be afraid of them, until I understood what exactly they are for. Maybe because by nature I'm a to-the-point writer. Minimalist to my marrow, never use a description when blank space will do. But whatever the reason, I thought I'd help you other writers out there who may struggle with this particular tool.
Imagine you have a little detective sitting on your shoulder grumbling "Just the facts, Ma'am." All of those scenes that you see in your head and bring forth onto the page, are for the story. In the synopsis you need to answer the basic questions.
1) What is happening (Plot)
2) Who it is happening to (Characters) And please, for the love of all that is holy, limit this to the protagonist (s) and the antagonist (s). I know you loved your heroine's snarky sister, I did too, but she has no place in the synopsis. Hero, heroine and villain, then get out.
3) Where and When it is happening (Setting)
4) Why it is happening. (Optional for longer synopses)
That's it, that's the secret. Leave your details and vivid descriptions for your baby. Just bear down, push and endure. I promise, it will be worth the effort.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Title: Kitty Kat
ISBN : 978-1-60521-502-0
Themes: Shapershifters, Men and Women in Uniform
Release Date: January, 2011
Author: Anne Kane
Publisher URL Changeling Press - Erotic Fiction
Kat hasn't always been a stray -- but times are tough, and when she lost her job, her no-good boyfriend dumped her. Now she lives in a deserted basement and scrounges for food behind the restaurants in the better section of town, while attending school during the day.
Jake feeds scraps of his dinner to the fluffy little con artist from time to time as he walks his beat, and he can't get the sassy stray off his mind. He feels a strange affinity for the feisty little kitty so he decides to trap her and tame her. What he doesn't realize is that she's a shifter, and she'll con his heart right out of his chest
Jake undid his shirt and plunked down in a chair at the table, putting his tightly muscled chest at eye level. Despite her annoyance, Kat felt a flicker of lust working its way down her belly to settle deep in her groin. Damn that looks tasty. I wonder… She managed to stop herself from imagining what the rest of him would look like nude. Enforcers were a tough breed, and he undoubtedly had the physique to go with the job.
“Not going to eat? I’ll just leave it there for now. You might change your mind later, once you yet settle in a bit.” He stood to stretch, and the sight of those tight jeans wrapped around his muscular hips sent Kat’s hormones into overdrive.
She let out a frustrated yowl that should have warned him things weren’t quite what he thought, but the damn guy just cooed some banal goodnight and disappeared through the doorway, leaving her simmering with rage and unresolved lust.
Kat paced as best she could in the small cage while the sounds from the far room indicated that the Enforcer hadn’t retired for the night yet. Patience had never been one of her better qualities, and she barely managed to contain herself while she waited for him to settle down.
Probably in a bed. A nice soft bed. Naked. His kind, the tough Enforcer cop kind, always slept naked. She could almost picture him, his beautiful abs waiting to be caressed by her willing fingers while his big Enforcer sized cock laid stretched out across one thigh…
She shook her head, berating her overactive imagination. Damn hormones, always putting her into places she didn’t want to be. She tilted her head to one side. The apartment seemed quiet now, but she’d better give him a bit more time before she made good her escape. The way her luck had been running lately, the damned Enforcer would be sitting up in bed watching a chic-flick on the Holo-grid. A feline smile curved her lips at the thought of the big tough Jake watching something designed to con female humans into believing in true love. She snorted in disgust. Even she’d bought into the concept, until her last boyfriend has tossed her out without so much as a thank you.
So much for true love and happily ever after. She’d spent the last six months cursing her gullibility while she scrounged the garbage cans behind the high-class restaurants for dinner and squatted in a deserted basement. She’d enrolled in business classes during the day, determined to never again be dependant on a male for food or shelter.
She lifted her head, flaring her nostrils. The deliciously tempting smell of aroused male filled her nostrils and she felt the heat building inside her. Apparently, those weren’t chic-flicks he’d been watching. She needed to get out of here. Now. Before she did something she’d regret.
Slipping her front leg between the bars, she closed her eyes and concentrated on a partial shift. Most were-cats were unable to master the manoeuvre, but Kat had had lots of time in the last few months to practice. Not much else to do in the basement of a deserted tenement when sleep was slow to come.
She felt the fur receding, muscles and bone reforming. She held her breath, steeling herself to wait until she could feel her hand, could wriggle each finger individually. There!
Twisting her wrist, she reached for the lock of the cage. Snick. The simple catch fell open at her touch, the door swung wide.
So there, Enforcer. Not so easy to keep this little cat caged.
Kat pulled her hand back into the cage and scooted free, turning to glare at the offending pile of metal. Crouching in a corner of the room, she relaxed. After the partial change, a full shift was easy. She concentrated and let the change sweep over her.
Fully human now, she stood and stretched her arms above her head as she luxuriated in her human form. She’d spent way too much time lately trapped in her cat form, unable to risk being seen.
She looked around and located the doorway. Now all she had to do was get out of here without waking the Enforcer up. That would be assuming he’d gone to sleep.
She stopped at the doorway, peering cautiously out into the hallway. She could see a large room at the end of the hallway. Probably the living room, where they’d entered the apartment. She tiptoed in that direction, being careful to set her feet down quietly. The last thing she needed was to have a creaking floorboard wake up the Enforcer.
She passed the first two doorways without incident; a bathroom and a very messy office. She glanced into the last doorway, and froze.
Sprawled across a king sized bed, the Enforcer was deliciously naked. His shock of flaming red hair lay mussed in disarray on the pillows, framing his angular face. Her gaze strayed lower, to the ropes of muscle criss-crossing his massive chest, and the temptingly flat belly. Lower still, his impressive cock lay across one stocky thigh just like she’d imagined it while his balls nestled into a curly nest of hair.
She sucked in a deep breath as heat flooded her body. In a different time and place, she wouldn’t hesitate to stop and dally with such a yummy male, but those days were long gone. The world was a tough place for a kitty on her own. She couldn’t afford to be here when he woke up, and time was a wasting. Still…
She glided a few steps toward the bed. What if she turned the tables on him? She felt the corner of her mouth turn up in an evil gin. He was a cop; there must be handcuffs around here somewhere.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I'm cross-posting this from my website in the hope that you might get a kick out of it. Enjoy! (And feel free to add to my list!)
"She plucked the weighty tomb from the shelf and--"
Ding ding! I blink and re-read the sentence.
She did what?
We've all been there, done that, I'm sure. We've all been immersed in a story, only to read something that our brain just won't let us auto-correct, some unintentional error that drags us from the page and dumps us back into "the real world". And unfortunately for me, one of my "talents" has always been to scan the page of a report or email or whatever, and spot the only spelling mistake. (I could only wish this talent applied to editing my own manuscripts, but alas, like writers everywhere, the more I read and re-read my own writing, the more errors I'm likely to miss -- mostly missing words, or doubled-up words in my case.)
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Which is listing some of the spelling muck-ups I've spotted lately in published works, just in case you were wondering. And this isn't a poke at editing, either. Believe me, I know how meticulously manuscripts will be edited by both authors and editors, and yet no matter how hard we try for perfection, some things will be missed. Among other wince-worthy boo-boos, my pet bugbears are "gauged" and "gouged"; "callus" and "callous" -- I always have to stop and think about those ones. And if you add the complication of trying to get my head around American word-usage and spelling.... Ack!
So the purpose of this post is twofold: 1) if you're a reader, to give you a chuckle, and 2) if you're a writer, to perhaps encourage you to take note of these common errors and watch out for them in your own manuscript drafts. Because as we all know, there's nothing worse than a spelling mistake that yanks a reader from your story!
Note: the following examples are made up, and not quoted directly from any published work. Any word-for-word quotes are entirely unintentional on my part -- blame it on the fact the mistake was one that has obviously stood out and is stuck forever in my brain!
Example 1: She plucked the weighty tomb from the shelf.
Tomb: crypt, vault, grave, mausoleum
Tome: book; especially a large, heavy book on a serious subject
The first item is definitely not something that one could "pluck" from anywhere, let alone a bookshelf. At least, not unless the person doing the plucking possessed supernatural powers. (Hey, I read a lot of paranormals, OK? *g*)
Example 2: The angry diety raised his hand and smacked his kneeling worshiper upside the head.
Diety: a cute nickname for Japanese parliament members.... Just kidding!
Deity: divinity, god, idol, divine being
As far as I'm aware, "diety" isn't a word at all, and every time I re-read the book, this spelling mistake still has the power to make me snigger and roll my eyes. I reckon it has a lot to do with the lamentable fact that "diet" is just "die" with a "t" on the end, and I always end up thinking about food. (BTW, it's worth noting that in this story, this particular divinity happened to be a real nasty piece of work, so I can understand the compulsion to spell it DIE-ty -- sooo much more evocative, LOL.)
Example 3: She stopped chunking and started tiptoeing -- even though tiptoeing was not exactly easy in her kickass biker boots.
Chunking: to cut up or break up into smaller pieces. (In psychology, it's the configuration of small units of information into large, coordinated units)
Clunking: a dull, heavy sound made when something hits a hard surface
This one just made me laugh out loud, especially when it brought to mind the slang expression "to blow chunks".
Example 4: She clutched her stomach, fell to her knees, and wretched.
OR: She felt retched.
Wretched: physical misery, very unhappy, inciting pity
Retched: made an unsuccessful effort to vomit, or ejected the contents of the stomach through the mouth
I've spotted both these ones a few times lately in historical romances -- definitely one to use in the correct context, methinks.
Example 5: She pursed the thief.
Pursed: puckered, squeezed, pressed together, tightened
I keep envisioning her puckering up and blowing him kisses while he runs away... with her purse. Pun intended ;-)
Example 6: She lathed his nipple.
Lathe: machine tool for shaping metal or wood
Lave: to wash or cleanse one's body with soap and water
All I can say about this one is that it's often incorrectly used in sex scenes and.... OWWWW!
Example 7: Puss oozed from the wound.
Puss: slang term for a domestic cat
Pus: a fluid excretion from an infected wound
Don't know whether to laugh or wretch -- I mean, retch! 'Nuff said.
Example 8: The huge splash sent the coy darting to the other side of the pool.
Koi: ornamental domesticated variety of the common carp, or nishikigoi
Coy: affectedly modest or shy, especially in a playful or provocative way
The first "coy" reference didn't even register on my huh?-o-meter. It went something like: The coy fish were finally enticed to the surface to nibble on her wiggling toes. Shy fish -- nothing too unusual about that. But it soon became obvious with subsequent usage in the same scene that these fish were in fact coy Koi *g*
Example 9: She invaded his mind and abstracted his thoughts.
Abstracted: lost in thought, preoccupied, vague, distant, summarized, condensed.
Extracted: to take out, removed, extorted, wheedled, obtained
OK, so when I looked it up, "abstract" can also mean: to extract, take out, remove -- you learn something new every day! But I'd rather read the word in a more common, well-known context, so I'm not provoked into putting down the book to check my dictionary. Is that too much to ask?
Example 10: His face turned chloric.
Chloric: no such word in any of my dictionaries
Choleric: showing or tending to show anger or irritation
Took me a few moments to figure out what "chloric" was supposed to mean because it wasn't obvious the context. So I went for the dictionary, just in case it was some cool word I'd never encountered before. In the end I had to presume it was "choleric". Thankfully, the clincher came a chapter or so later, when the correct word "choleric" was again used to describe that particular character. So I could finally let it go and move on and enjoy the story.
That's my checklist so far. Doubtless I'll add to it as more examples come to light. And you can bet I'll be doing word searches in my works-in-progress, too, in the hopes I'll eliminate anything that will make a reader snort coffee from her nose. Or worse, quit reading to go find a dictionary!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Did the title catch your attention? I hope so.
Are any of you putting anything on the page just to reach the word count goal you've made for the New Year?
How many of you have met the goals you wrote down so far?
Good on you if you’ve stayed on task. Me…hell no. I’m not alone I know it.
At this point writing this blog post is good.
When you have physical issues, it makes it difficult to gauge just how much you can accomplish. I’m aggravated I haven’t done what I need to do. Being bedridden and so fog-brained I can’t think does put a cramp on the writing. Talk about crap-on-the-page.
So, I’m sitting here trying to figure out a way to inch my way toward my goal.
Slow progress is better than none at all.
Healthy people can be cruel and judgmental.
I’m a vegetarian, I exercise and my weight is heading to the goal I’ve set. I feel better but having fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue means the weather plays a big factor in what I can and can’t do. Be nice to yourself if you have health problems. You don’t need the extra stress.
I recently went to a presentation by romance author, Jessica Trapp. She spoke about the 100 words a day program. If you can just put 100 words a day down it’s enough to keep your mind focused on the story. Some days you’ll write more than 100 and that’s fantastic, but on other days 100 is the best a writer can manage. Thank you, Jessica for reminding me about the 100 words!
Whipping out eight or twenty pages is wonderful but in the real world, it isn’t always viable. Yes, I’m still a professional despite the fact my word count is all over the place. In my years as a writer I've heard others indicate that the amount of pages you produce in a day indicates how serious you are about the craft of writing.
Yes, I agree we should all be writing everyday and marketing ourselves and our work.
Who is the farking psycho that started that crap anyway?
Writers write. Procrastination is a whole 'nother post which I'll probably tackle soon.
Try to do at least one thing a day to propel you toward your writing goals and dreams. Adjust when you need to but never, ever give up.
This is not a whiny/whinging blog post but one to remind writers and anyone who lives with a writer, we all can’t write/plot/whatever at the same speed. We all do our best in reaching the writing goals we’ve set.
Make smaller, short-term goals if you need to. The bright goals you made for 2011 can still be done. Maybe refocus on what you really want to accomplish and use your limited energy for that specific task.
Remember if you do have crap-on-the-page you can edit and polish it into something extraordinary.
Whatever you do, make this your best writing year ever!
Hugs to all,
P.S. Please pray for our friends in Australia. If you can help, please do so!
Friday, January 7, 2011
So it’s that time of year again, and I thought I’d write up my annual wish list. I don’t pretend they’re actually going to happen because if they were, they wouldn’t be on this year’s list. I would have done them last year.
So here goes:
Lose 40 pounds. Not the same 4 pounds ten times, but 40 separate pounds.
Learn to play piano. Always wanted to do that. Lack of an actual piano may be a problem with this one.
Go horseback riding along the warm sand at the edge of the ocean. Okay I don’t own a horse and live in the mountains, not on the coast. Still….
Save more money. This has been on every list in the last thirty years. Doesn’t seem to be working. Hmm.
Keep up with the dust bunnies ie get them out from under the bed before they’re big enough to fight back. Again, this isn't the first time this one's been on the list. I think the little critters have their own village under there.
So there you have it. My wish list for 2011!
Happy New Year
Thursday, January 6, 2011
DH is on holiday... which is a rare and wonderful thing! But having him at home means my schedule goes out the window, and I tend to forget what day of the week it is. And today is--
Horrors! I've been so busy punching my fist in the air to celebrate my escape from the interminable hell that is Windows Vista, and not-so-gleefully reinstalling software after DH upgraded my operating system, that I'd forgotten it's Thursday until now. Worse, my head is so fuzzy from the heat and humidity, that I can't think of a single thing to write about. Well, nothing that you'd be interested in reading, that is ;-)
I have a release coming out in February.
And if you've been following my previous posts you might remember me talking on and off about this particular manuscript, Scent Of Man, which started off as a 110,000 word fantasy, and ended up as a 75,000 word erotic romance. And you'll also know it was one hell of a rewrite and frankly, sucked a lot out of me. Meaning that Ms Muse (the capricious little beyotch!) decided to go on an extended vacation, and she's only just decided to slink back and beg forgiveness and start making noises about writing more stories. Such is the joy of being a writer.
So to celebrate having this story all done and dusted -- well, except for promo, but let's not go there right now coz I'm still trying to catch my breath from the last lot -- I'm offering up the chance to win an ARC of Scent Of A Man.
The one woman who can resist him is the only woman he's ever wanted....
Joseph is a highborn Anglian noble living in a harshly religious society where the Council and their clerics enforce chastity, and women are oppressed and treated like chattels. Overnight, Joseph undergoes a rare transformation and becomes a Scentinel, a man who exudes powerful sexual pheromones that make him irresistible to females. His people believe he is evil and will execute him on sight. He’s on the run, starving and desperate. He has nothing more to lose–or so he believes.
Liliana is a “morally corrupt” Europan woman with an agenda. She’s a creature even rarer than Joseph, a Null who can neutralize Scentinel pheromones. Her mission is to do whatever it takes to bring Joseph safely to Europan shores. There, he’ll join Empress Vashti’s elite band of Scentinel spies — provided he survives his training with his sanity intact, and learns how to suppress his pheromones at will. And falling in love with the man she must ultimately betray was never part of Liliana’s plan.
Here's what you do: head over to my website and leave a comment answering one simple question. (It really is simple, I promise!) And there's an excerpt from the novel posted there, too -- yanno, just for the insatiably curious.
I'll draw a winner on 24th January.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I'll post more details as the start approaches, but I hope you'll make plans to pop over and meet the roster of authors she's got on board for a chance to win some books and other prizes.
As for me, I've managed to climb out of my writing funk. After struggling with it for more than three months, I'm finally closing in on the end of my current WIP and I'm pretty damn happy about that. My daily word count hasn't been all that great, especially over the holidays, but I hope to change that now. I heard tell that our very own Saranna wrote 20k words in one day just this past week. One freaking day! She floors me, she really does.
Here's hoping 2011 brings all kinds of good news and high word counts to us all.
Monday, January 3, 2011
So instead of actually writing something today I thought about what makes me a writer when I'm not writing. Then, because I have a hard time dropping a train of thought while it's speeding down the tracks, I thought about what makes anyone a writer and came up with a little test, Jeff Foxworthy style.
If your skin is the lightest shade of pale it can possibly be, you might be a writer. I have yet to meet one able to maintain a truly decent tan.
If people tell you that you talk funny, you might be a writer. Tell me was it good advice or sage advice you received? Double points if your nine-year-old uses words like "Actually" or "Exquisite" in normal conversation. Mine's been doing it since he was four.
If you have ever mentally corrected the grammar, punctuation or spelling in someone else's email just for kicks, you might be a writer.
If you talk to yourself in public, you might be a writer. Well of course I know you aren't talking to yourself, you're talking to the people in your head, I know that.
If you have a stash of paper menus or napkins with story ideas and bits of dialogue too good to pitch, you might be a writer. Some of mine are over a decade old. You would think that if they were that good, I would have done something with them by now. Eh...
If you've ever ask someone for his/her backstory, you might be a writer.
If you would rather play with words than with people, you might be a writer.
If you dream about typing The End, you might be a writer.