It's been a long while since I've posted that's mostly due to the fact I have been spending all of my time on different writing projects these last few months. In fact, I've barely had a chance to catch my breath. This all has transpired, because I'm trying to set realistic goals for myself and reach them.
My goals for March were...
Start and finish 2 new short stories
Complete the 2nd draft for Part 1 of Blood Feud (prologue- chapter 12)
I recently was told about Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Mass and decided to order a copy and give it a shot. Wow! What a difference it has made in the way I approach a story. This book is a wonderful way to help work out the character and plot kinks of a novel, but it is also very helpful with short stories as well.
This book is sectioned off into three parts Part 1: Character Development, Part 2: Plot Development, and Part 3: General Story Techniques. Each part then goes into great detail about each element within the categories. I love that Donal Mass has included a little "lesson" and follows up with exercises where I can input my own information, depending on the story I want to work on.
In the recent writing workshop with Johnathan Maberry we talked a lot about the 3 acts of the story structure. This workshop made me realize once again how helpful this little tool can be when plotting out a story. Most stories can be broken down to this basic structure and it is something to use as a guide when plotting out your own story. Let's break down the 3 acts and see what each act entails. I'll also use an example of the Wizard of Oz to show this breakdown.
Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of meeting horror and
thriller writer Jonathan Maberry. Two of my writing friends and I took a trip
to Baltimore to attend a workshop he did at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. The topic up for discussion was the full process of the story.
For four hours a room full of writers were able to listen to his experience and
pick his brain for information.
I am currently reading an anthology that I'm just loving and thought I'd share. Dark Faith: Invocations an anthology of 26 stories with authors like Tim Waggoner, Max Allen Collins, Jennifer Pelland, and Tom Piccirilli. These stories test the faith and expose the soul as they delve into the world of giant Buddas, human machine robotnicks, a man renting an apartment in God's head, the cost of expelling one's soul, and so much more. Reading each story is like opening a brand new shiny treasure of deep characters, strong emotion, and beautifully crafted worlds.
In my recent post Writing is More Thinking Than Actual Writing I talked about how important it is to do a lot of thinking before putting any idea on paper. I don't know about you, but there are sometimes where thinking can be hard to do. So here are some ways I use to get my brain in the thinking mood....
What is the most frustrating part about being a writer? I don't know about other writers, but for me its discovering a fabulous idea that I start writing on, and then part way into the story the idea fizzles, or I lose interest- So much for that fabulous idea. It gets tossed on that dusty shelf where all stories usually never get a second glance. After awhile, looking at the cluttered shelf can get more than a little depressing and I wonder, "Why can't I finish anything? Why can't I find a story I really want to write?"
Answer... Because I haven't spent enough time developing any idea to the point where I can really know it to feel it inside and out, up and down, and all the way through to the deepest core of the idea.
Between the Lines by Jessica Page Morrell was highly recommeded to me by other fellow writers, but I only recently purchased and read it. I wished I'd done it sooner. It's a wonderful book that really dives into the more subtle elements of fiction writing. It's already in my favorite book category, and I've only read up to chapter 8 so far.
This book is all about honing the blending and balance of words and structure to create a superior piece of work. Some of my favorite chapters consist of topics such as; what to do about backstory, epiphanies and revelations, foreshadowing, and imagery. These chapters has already changed the way I approach my writing, and I'm especially looking forward to reading the other topics, which includes (but not limited to); pacing, sensory surround, and subplots.
Oh man, I have to come up with more goals? Don't I already do that almost everyday of the week? And didn't I just kick butt with my 2012 goals? Okay, so maybe coming up with some new things to strive for may not be a bad idea. Here are some things I would like to accomplish in 2013.
This is a goal I still need to keep on doing. I did better in 2012, but I can do even better. My goal to read at least a chapter or short story every single day.
This I have been doing pretty good in, but I'm putting it down as a goal to remind myself not to become a slacker. I must write everyday!!!!
I can't believe it's the end of yet another year, and what a great year it has been! I will always look at 2012 as the year that I really became a writer. I wrote more this year than I have since I started dabbling in writing six years ago. I also found an incredible story that will take many books to tell, and I found a really close group of writers to work with in the critique group I started at the beginning of 2012. I also did pretty good at keeping to my goals that I set for myself at the beginning of 2012.
A friend of mine Lesley Conner tagged me in a blog of hers and I have been tasked to answering questions about my lasted work in progress, so I chose to talk about my novel Blood Feud.
What is the working title of your book?
The title of my current novel that I am writing on is call Blood Feud. It is the first of six books in a series called Emperors of Ethia. And yes, I already have titles and basic plots all lined up for the other five books.
I created a Facebook page called Unofficial NaNoWriMo in November to help out other writers who were participating in NaNoWriMo contest either officially or unofficially. I found that the support system was a lot of fun and beneficial to all who participated. I wanted to carry that support past November and decided to created a new Facebook page for that purpose.
It's called Writers 2 Writers, and it's all about being a tool for writers to use as a place to recieve encouragment, chat about writing projects or anthing having to do with writing, boast on accomplishments, or simply join to help others become inspired. It's a place to scream for help when motivation is lacking. Show off your work. A place to ask specific questions about grammar, spelling, style, or anything else that may pop up in your writing. But mostly it's about being able to communicate with like minded indviuals who all have the same goal- to write.
Well, my goals for the month of November didn't get reached, but I came pretty close, especially considering I had to take about 2 weeks off due to different things coming up. I managed to get the first draft of Part 2 of my novel (chapters 18-27) done and I've gotten started on Part 3 and completed chapters 28 and 29. Since I wasn't able to commit the full month to my goals, I've decided to extend them into the month of December. My new goals will be...
Finish rough and first draft of Part 3 (chapters 30-42)
Work on a short story connected to my novel for an anthology due in Janurary
I think my goals are doable, and I can't wait to see what the months of December will bring! So what are your goals for this last month of the year?
It's November and you know what that means... NaNoWriMo. Oh yeah!!! I am sending happy thoughts to all you wonderful souls out there gearing up for this great challenge. I too plan on participating, but unofficially. I don't have a new novel to work on, so have opted to work on the one I've been writing for the past six months (Blood Feud), so that means I won't be able to do the real deal. That's not stopping me from setting my own goals!
I ventured onto my blog today to answer a comment a reader left and realized it's been nearly a month since I've updated. I seem to have fallen into a pattern of ignoring my blog and pouring all my time into my my novel and the several short stories I've been working on. So today I've decided to do a update about my writing and why I've been ignoring my blog.
Since I began the journey of writing with the goal of writing for myself instead of trying to be a published author (late last year), writing has become much more fun and exciting! The ideas flow much easier and I'm just a happier person all around. It doesn't mean I won't pursue publication, but I'm no longer writing to fit a certain niche or what I think people want to read. I write what I want to read, and it makes a big different.