Dawn Montgomery

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Nothing to See Here

In Challenges, Goals on February 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Well. I’ve learned a few things this week.

  1. I cannot focus when I have multiple projects going on. Two weeks in a row was a dismal failure.
  2. Writing two novels at the same time is like playing heavy metal and club music at once. Completely out of sync and annoying as hell. Besides, I don’t want them to sound the same. They’re completely different story lines, and I caught myself reusing phrases in both. Ugh.
  3. The weekends are no longer my catch up days. Since SuperChef started his job, it’s now MY job to keep the kids occupied while he tries to get his recipe blog updated and get new recipes out. When I had the EDJ, he kept them occupied so I could write when I could. It’s only fair. ๐Ÿ™‚

So what now? I had about 1500 words or so on Friday. That was awesome. Nothing to write home about yesterday or today (so far). All I can do is write off this week as a learning experience, and continue pounding out the words.

To make up for the past two weeks’ experiment, I’ve decided I’m going to spend this week completely focused on No Dragon, No Problem. I’ll get it edited and out. Then move on to one of my works in progress. That’s it for me, guys. I hope your week was far more productive!

Keep Writing!

Dawn

This is a blog hop! Check out other awesome writers here!

Demons and Things

In #amwriting on February 25, 2012 at 2:21 am

In this world of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other online streaming media, it takes a very special movie or TV show to make me purchase a DVD. One thing that will suck me in…behind-the-scenes stuff.

So why am I chatting about this? Clive Barker’s inspiration derived from his horrific nightmares. It was decades before I realized the man behind Hellraiser and Rawhead Rex started out in fiction. Screenplays and directing came later (directing was actually a result of the flop that was Rawhead Rex).

Kim Knox has this amazing behind the book series on her site. She breaks down five awesome trivia bits for each book and series. I inhale that stuff! She has the most incredible combinations of science, dystopian sci-fi (doctor who-esque), and fascinating historical cultures. She’s a master storyteller.

Dakota Cassidy’s Accidental Series was triggered by an unofficial RWA 2004 appearance. She was stepping out of her car to meet with her agent when she came across a pack of Mary Kay consultants complete with tiaras and brightly colored business suits. Hanging out with them triggered the idea…What if one of the ladies was a werewolf? One that was accidentally bitten by a cute pooch?

Joss Whedon’s inspiration for Firefly was his love of Civil War and old west/frontier justice.

Every author has stuff that triggers a book idea. Dakota has pop culture. Kim has the mesh of science and fascinating snapshots of history. Clive Barker has nightmares, and a primal understanding of what makes a person afraid. Joss’s combination of Civil War and old west brought us the world of Firefly.

So what gets my attention?

Demon mythos. Demons, demi-gods, curses, you name it. The Evil Within. Every culture has core beliefs of good vs. evil. Corruption, at its most basic, is considered the ultimate evil. It is the crack in the armor, the way in to the darkness of the human soul. People hold great capacity for secrets and the pain that comes with it. Personal experience tells me that outward appearance, charm, and personality are no litmus test against the poison within. Some of the most horrific crimes against nature were committed by those who were attractive, friendly, and otherwise unremarkable.ย  It’s truly fascinating for me…beauty and danger. This combined with my military travels, experiences, and love of Texan and Alaskan histories create mayhem inside my mind.

Ahhh, but what about the writing, you ask? Weeell…

So here I am…2 am…with my most unproductive week since the 16th of January. I’ve missed Wednesday’s Round of Words update, and my goals for the week are shot. This week was an exciting one. SuperChef started his new job. Little B had epic meltdowns several times this week b/c of all the changes in the house. Our last shipment from Alaska came on Wednesday. I got my writing stuff (thank goodness!). SuperChef got his kitchen stuff (YAY! Spices!). The living room now has our big TV back (Thank goodness! Now maybe the complaining will stop!). And I have my monster computer monitor. My eyes thank me. ๐Ÿ˜€ I had a great writing day on Friday. And that’s about it. So today I’m working when I can, and not even trying to play catch up.

So what’s on the agenda? Writing. In Scrivener. See you on the Round of Words update tomorrow.

Keep Writing!

Dawn

Another V-Day down!

In Goals on February 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Two out of Four ain’t so bad…

This week was a tester week for me. I had four solid goals…rewrites for A Familiar Kiss, complete No Dragon, No Problem, Chapter Two for Enraptured, and Chapter One for Feral Hunger.

So how did I do?

  • I made it to page 45 of 111 on A Familiar Kiss. Not bad. Didn’t make my V-Day goal, but this one is being quite the bugbear.
  • No Dragon, No Problem completed. YES! I had a little mini dance. Edits for this puppy will start on Monday.
  • Enraptured and I are working through our problems today. ๐Ÿ˜€ Chapter two is an all action sequence, so I’ll be able to complete the chapter!
  • Chapter one for Feral Hunger completed. YES!
So what craziness conspired this week? LOL! V-Day week seems to consistently be self-doubt week of the year (four years running). I thought I’d made a huge mistake doing this full-time (I’m not wishy-washy, I promise! Just worried about family finances). So hubby goes out and gets a job just like *snap* that. First time in the history of ever for either one of us. Wow, right? So I could focus again, and then Kim Knox did this AMAZING post this week that just snapped me out of the fugue.

You guys suffered through a crazy Q n A for the Platform Campaign. Turns out I’m a happy hooker (crochet joke) with a sword cane obsession, and am the great great granddaughter of a notorious moonshiner who changed his name to protect his family. Oh…and La Freak by Chic was the most popular song the day I was born. Subtle. Very subtle (so much better than Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy which would have been on my due date).

I poked fun at writer superstition that makes us afraid to say when our writing days are good days.

So what am I looking forward to this week?
I like having four objectives a week. It’s another test week so I can make sure I’m doing what needs to be done. If I can’t meet four goals this week…well, I may have been a bit more ambitious than I want to admit. ๐Ÿ˜‰
So specific writing goals:
  • Continue hacking away at A Familiar Kiss. Once I’m done with that, it’s set it up for submission, send it off, and begin edits on No Dragon, No Problem.
  • Finish Beauty’s Beast (formerly Thief)
  • Complete Enraptured Chapter Three
  • Complete Feral Hunger Chapter Two
That’s a little over 23k this week to accomplish. We’ll see how I do.
Monday is a holiday here in the states, so I’ll get done what I can. Tuesday the kids go back to school. Wednesday is the final load of furniture from Alaska (YAY!), and I have to meet with someone. Thursday and Friday are base stuff. Next Monday is my official last day in the service. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure if we’re actually going to do anything, but I know I’ll be happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Goals for the week:

A Familiar Kiss Rewrites (Pages, not words)
Beauty’s Beast
Enraptured Chapter Two and Three
Feral Hunger/Primal Intent Chapter One and Two

Until we chat again, keep writing!

Dawn

This is a BLOG HOP! Check out other awesome writers HERE!

Inspiration is like a giant slap in the face

In #amwriting on February 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm

During my preteens I inhaled books. Since I moved around all the time, books were familiar when everything else was different. I remember the adventures with a small smile. Some came with me (Anne McCaffrey, anyone?). Some I never wanted to read again, but I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

One book stuck with me through the years. I can’t recall the title or the characters’ names, but I do remember a series of events involving a life-altering decision. The character was inspired by a “gently waking dream”, and knew the perfect answer to some complex problem. From that moment on, this character knew in his head and heart that his path was the right one.

He went on to make some illogical choices using this dream as justification. Every time someone tried to convince him to take a less difficult path, he would gently put them off, letting them know he was making the right choice for him. I remember reading the book and thinking…what a load of crap. He had his blinders on, and wouldn’t be deterred from his course of action. Too many times I’d watched families fall apart in real life by that sort of rigid thinking. By the belief that their path is the righteous one.

No gently waking dream would ever give me that kind of passion, drive, or dedication.

A giant slap in the face, on the other hand, might.

I was floundering this week. Really feeling the downs after making the decision to write full-time. For many different reasons, March is going to be a difficult one in the Montgomery household. None of them are important to this post except to say sometimes real life is a pressure cooker of stress. ๐Ÿ™‚

That book from my youth has come to mind several times throughout the week. Did I makeย an idiotic decision to write full-time? Am I selfishly sacrificing all common sense for this dream?

Then something magical happened. Kim Knox wrote an incredible post about the outside influences of our writing. She says:

I should be a painter. Iโ€™m a writer. And what I shouldโ€™ve been, does influence how I write.

She was inspired by a post from Brian Bushwood where he shows us the letter that inspired him to be fantastic! This particular piece of his letter from Teller (of Penn and Teller fame!) caught my attention.

Love something besides magic, in the arts. Get inspired by a particular poet, film-maker, sculptor, composer. You will never be the first Brian Allen Brushwood of magic if you want to be Penn & Teller. But if you want to be, say, the Salvador Dali of magic, we’ll THERE’S an opening.

I should be a film editor. I’m a magician. And if I’m good, it’s because I should be a film editor. Bach should have written opera or plays. But instead, he worked in eighteenth-century counterpoint. That’s why his counterpoints have so much more point than other contrapuntalists. They have passion and plot. Shakespeare, on the other hand, should have been a musician, writing counterpoint. That’s why his plays stand out from the others through their plot and music.

Click on Brian’s name to see the full correspondence. His post resonated with me. Kim Knox hit it on the head when she explored what makes her writing so unique. Her detailed worlds and bold, sexually charged characters are full of vibrant color and broad strokes of energy. It also explains why she can leave one world and create another so that every book is unique. It is rare for painters to create a series. Once a painting is done, it is finished, and the artist moves on to the next amazing delivery.

So now it’s my turn. I have always been fascinated with the stage. I remember reading in kindergarten. There was a book that had all the characters in a play. We each had parts to read, and our teacher mentioned how our tone could show an emotion. She used a particular line as an example. I watched her go through five emotions with one word, and something inside me clicked. I was hooked on the idea that meanings could be changed by the way the speaker interpreted the line.

While some girls wrote in journals and played with dolls during summer break, I created home productions of my favorite cartoons (teenage mutant ninja turtles…come on, April was a ginger! How could I not?). I would haul all the cousins and siblings into the back room and dress us all up (paper plates became turtle masks, panty hose covered the faces of the evil foot clan reps). We made a fake TV with one of our moving boxes, and I’d start the play with a quick news report on the catastrophe surrounding the mutants. Of course the cousins would attack each other with abandon. The turtles would win (of course), and the faithful reporter would cover the story to the end. Narrating was so fun. The family would laugh at our antics, and I always loved the way everyone smiled afterward.

My mother has recordings of terrible radio shows my brothers and I created, and scripts I’d written when I was six or seven. They were horrible copies of care bear movies. As I grew, intricate plays became my obsession. I inhaled psychological thrillers by Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, Sliver, Patriot Games). One particular fascinated me. Veronica’s Room…where a family invites a girl into their home to convince her that she’s their long dead daughter. So they can kill her again. And again. Of Mice and Men, where innocence is punished. Equus. How an obsession can slowly tear a man apart until he doesn’t know what’s right or wrong anymore. I was fascinated with makeup and costume, and how the line between horror and comedy can be so slim. I was a Fangoria subscriber, and devoured articles from Hollywood’s greatest horror masters.

My books are movies in my head. I can see the atmosphere, taste the wind, feel the cold. Its an immersion that I developed as an amateur stage actress. No award or ovation could replace the feeling of a nailed performance. The character was everything I’d wanted. I’d created the world well enough for you to follow me to the end.

When I write a book, I want you to feel a character’s pain, know the gnawing hunger, the chills down your spine. I want every crack of thunder in the book to make your heart jump just a bit. When the characters laugh, I want you to smile with them. I want you to feel the world the way I see it in my mind.

Confession time.

I should be a director. I’m a writer. If I’m any good at bringing you into my world, it’s because of that fact.

Thanks Kim, for putting me back on the road again. My challenge to you is this…where do you draw your inspiration?

Keep Writing!

Dawn

I love a great day

In #amwriting, Goals on February 15, 2012 at 12:01 am

What do we do when our days are terrible? We lament them, rage at them, and pretty much tear every single thing apart. Every moment of that day must have conspired to destroy the great words we were going to write! I’m one of those annoying realist types who takes a hard look at my output for the day and judges my efforts vs my results.

If the words aren’t coming, I switch to another of the wips (works in progress) on my list (but don’t start another one! that path lies madness…and procrastination). If I still can’t write, I give myself a good time frame to get wordage down. Usually using online stopwatch or something. If, by the end of that time, the words still refuse to come…I go for a walk. Or for a swim. I’ll take a notebook with me and a pen, and just go somewhere. Eventually my mind will settle and I’ll begin writing on my wip. It can be on bleachers at a gym (but not naked in the women’s locker room, sorry guys), at poolside, or on a bench somewhere. I’ve learned to carry pens that don’t run (sharpie pens anyone?) so the water thing isn’t such an issue.

On the very worst days…nothing comes. And that, in romance, is tragic. Bad joke. Sorry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But what about those glorious days where the words pour out like a river of wealth and sweet nothings (or kickass antics, and slaughtering of the bad guys)? Why don’t we cheer for those days? Because of superstition.

Just like the kickoff kid (American football) who won’t wash his kicking sock because it helped him with a game-winning point three seasons ago, we writers are afraid of the back-stabbing great day. You see, if we talk about that day, if we dare express our happiness and joy, it will abandon us. Talking about it makes it go away. Washing a sock would prevent a foot from aiming straight (probably true, since a three-season unwashed sock would pretty much stand on its own by then). Not hitting a sign on the way to the field would enable a loss. Is it possible to lose if you hit the sign anyway? Well…yeah…but if you DON’T hit the sign, a loss occurs because of that fact! And any win would be the kiss of a good luck fairy.

So what do I think about all that? I’m Irish-American with a good dose of Shawnee superstition thrown in. Trust me, I’ve got my issues. So why this post? I’ve had a few great writing sessions a week. There. I said it! Say it with me…because like super sales on divine dark chocolate candies, you WILL have another opportunity, another great day! Do I get slammed with BS, annoying flashes of idiocy, unforeseen circumstances and drama that derails me? Yeah. Of course. What do I do about it? Deal with it. Give myself permission to write crap, and get on with it (no one is tougher on me than I am).

We are getting over the hump in the Round of Words challenge. Now’s the time to dig in. It’s the time when the euphoria fades, and you start to self-doubt. That’s perfectly normal. So what are we going to do about it? We’re going to keep putting fingers to keyboard, pen to paper, voice to microphone and keep going. Why? We’re writers and that’s what we do. We make the impossible, possible. It’s time for the real work to begin. The AIC mentality. Ass-in-chair. Not glamorous. But necessary.

So…to all the new followers of this blog…we can do it. Why? Because, well, we can. That’s all there is to it. Persistence is only bad in stalking. And that’s just with restraining orders in place (tongue-in-cheek bad joke. Don’t shoot me!).

Go forth writing brethren! Let’s kick some ass this week! And be damn proud of your good days!

Keep Writing!

Dawn

This is a BLOG HOP! Check out more awesome writers HERE!

Getting to Know Me?

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm

*taps microphone* Is this thing on? So the lovely Lady Gwen of Run, Gwen Run! Write, Gwen Write! posted an eleven question getting to know you session to kick off our online platform campaign. I usually avoid these like the plague, but in the spirit of awesome, I’m taking the plunge. *paper rustles quietly. single audience member clears throat*

1. What is your secret weapon of choice?

  • Real life: Sword Cane.
  • Sci Fi: Sentient Ship
  • Fantasy: Flesh eating unicorns
  • Urban Fantasy/Paranormal: My dry wit
  • Steampunk: My metal arm, complete with all the latest accessories (pistols, anyone?); the werewolf queen as my companion; and/or McQueen, rake at large and handy alchemist.

2. If you could sit down for coffee with any historical figure, who would it be?

  • ย Sam Houston. As a Texas History buff, he is the one that most fascinates me.

3. Any “famous” figures in your ancestry? Who and what did they do?

  • ย Yes. The notorious Willum Wheeler (name changed, of course, to prevent the US Marshalls from getting too close) moonshine runner from waaaay back. Wasn’t a nice man. But he was famous.

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

  • ย Well, I’ve been almost everywhere. I would give anything to meet up with Lexxie Couper in Australia, or spend a holiday with Kim Knox and Lexxie Couper in Spain. Just because. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. What was the #1 song the day you were born?

  • ย La Freak by Chic. I guess that’s appropriate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

6. What is your favorite genre to read and why?

  • ย I’m a voracious reader. I guess you should ask what I don’t like to read…most biographies, technical manuals for things I have no interest in, or anything that’s going to make me cry at the end b/c someone dies. If I had to pick an absolute favorite genre…ROMANCE with all its subgenres. ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Who is your favorite literary character and why?

  • ย These questions always make me sigh. Grendel (from either Grendel or Beowulf). He knew what he wanted, was fiercely loyal, and gave Beowulf one helluva fight. If I’m not feeling particularly villainous, I would love to be Aeriel from Darkangel (of Meredith Ann Pierce’s Darkangel Trilogy). She was strong-willed, a brilliant storyteller, and unaware of her strength until it mattered most. Plus she went from a frightened girl to one kick-ass young woman!

8. Besides reading and writing, what is your favorite pastime or hobby?

  • ย Crochet. What can I say? I’m a hooker at heart. ๐Ÿ˜€

9. If you could switch places with one person for 24 hours, who would it be? Why?

  • ย I’m going to have to be boring and say…I really like being me, and being here with my family. So I really can’t think of anything. Truly.

10. What is the area you live in most famous for?

  • ย The Alamo. LOL.

And last, but not least…

11. What are the top 5 programs you watch on television?

  • Doctor Who
  • Sanctuary
  • Supernatural
  • Haven
  • Primeval

That’s it, folks. Nothing too exciting! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you enjoyed this session. ๐Ÿ˜€ Won’t be tagging anyone, as I think everyone’s pretty much been tagged now.

On the writing front:

A Familiar Kiss Rewrites Through Chapter One

No Dragon, No Problem

Rest

In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals on February 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

It’s another check-in day. We’ve been unpacking boxes, rearranging furniture, and all the crazy that comes with moving. My nighttime writing sessions have been a no-go since I’m usually too exhausted to stay awake. ๐Ÿ˜€ I finally had that day or two of rest I’ve needed since this adventure began back in January. Three days in a row of sleep for 12 hours at a time (which may or may not be due to having MY BED back -and/or- bone weary exhaustion). Yep, I think I’m finally rested. Last night was a seven hour sleep fest so I’m definitely back on track. ๐Ÿ˜€

So what did I accomplish this week?

  • Got the kids all their shots and back in school (YES!)
  • Won a contest for a $25 Amazon gift card. OMG how awesome! Thank you Evanne!
  • Unpacked most of my bedroom. I now have a desk and place to write YAY!
  • Worked through a plotting issue with A Familiar Kiss
  • Submitted Destitute and Undead to Entangled Publishing (the pitch win)
  • Became a Coffee Time Romance author (so cool!)
  • Thief‘s outline was completed.
  • Entered another pitch. Will find out next week if it’s selected by an editor for an online live pitch session
  • No Dragon, No Problem is at 6323 of 20k (started it on 3 Feb, I need to get in gear!).
  • Created my author page on Amazon.com
  • Joined up with the Platform Building Campaign
  • Updated my website, the books section on this one, and my work in progress page
  • Only produced 3k words this week (thank you #1k1hr on twitter!). Not good, but I’m giving myself a break and calling it a planning/spring cleaning week

You know, I think that’s enough for any writing week. No wonder I was so tired.

So what’s on the agenda for next week?

  • Complete A Familiar Kiss and get it to my editor by the end of V Day
  • Complete No Dragon, No Problem
  • Complete Chapter One of Feral Hunger/Primal Intent (the title gods are debating on this one)
  • Complete Chapter Two of Enraptured

What are the goals for the rest of the month?

  • Complete one chapter ea on two novels per week
  • Submit Chloe’s Kiss to the submission call
  • Finish and submit Thief and A Clockwork Conspiracy (this one’s tentative)

Guess I’d better get on the ball. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be running several #1k1hr throughout the day, every day, from my twitter account. You’re welcome to follow along. I use Tweetdeck so I can create a #1k1hr column. This shows me any time another group is running.

Goals for the week:

A Familiar Kiss Rewrites
No Dragon, No Problem
Enraptured Chapter Two
Feral Hunger/Primal Intent Chapter One

That’s it for me!

Keep Writing!

Dawn

This is a BLOG HOP! Check out other awesome Writers HERE.

Campaign A-hoy!

In Challenges on February 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm

It’s really awesome to see genuine enthusiasm for helping others. Angela Knight and Morgan Hawke took a chance on me years ago, Lynn Viehl has become a mentor, and Kim Knox has faced the fire with me more than once. All these great authors have one thing in common…they didn’t do it alone. At some point they were helped by someone else.

When Ozlem Yikici told me about this amazing platform campaign ran by Rachael Harrie, my interest was snagged. What a fantastic idea! Find other people who write what you write, and chat with them. There are also some pretty cool challenges :D.

So now I’m supposed to tell you about me. I write erotica and erotic romance with a dip into the paranormal world for Changeling Press, Ellora’s Cave, and Liquid Silver Books. These titles are also available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance Ebooks. I consider paranormal to be “other” than normal. So for me that includes: werewolves, urban fantasy, science fiction, genetic manipulation, vampires in space, sexy dragons with a penchant for smart-mouthed princesses, you name it. ๐Ÿ™‚ If it’s fun, I’m loving it. My work goes from very dark to cheeky humor.

I’m really looking forward to this season’s campaign.

Keep Writing!

Dawn

Whirlwind

In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals on February 8, 2012 at 12:01 am

Bwahahahaha. Despite Journey’s anthem, I’m going to have to stop believing…in a week without some near-catastrophic event that sends my family into a frenzy of panic. Some days I’m the center of the storm, trying to keep everyone calm. Other days I just want to curl up in a ball and wake up four months from now when this work to writing transition is finally complete.

Did I mention that I got a TON of writing done this week (despite the odds, I might add!)?

Sunday was a no-go writing-wise. We had to shop for new school supplies since our stuff had yet to arrive (shopping in a mega-mart on Superbowl Sunday? WHY did I think that was a good idea?). Monday was a ton of paperwork, and delays on getting the kids into school. Monday night I wrote until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So far, so good, yeah?

Tuesday. Oh Tuesday, you’re becoming my Monday. I’m starting to hate you like I hate sesame seeds when they stick in my teeth. Three appointments for three different kids, only to find out that the school district was confused about how an out-of-state school transferred discharge paperwork (Anchorage ISD faxes discharge paperwork to the next location instead of allowing the parents to hand carry). But I digress. In the middle of this adventure, I get a phone call from the moving company. Our large house shipment is here (a BED! YES!). They want to deliver tomorrow (YAY!) but don’t know if they can do a split delivery (Uh Oh!). Some phone calls need to be made, etc.

Long story short…movers will be here tomorrow delivering ONLY the stuff we need and storing it for 90 days until we can have the large stuff (like the outdoor freezer, lawnmower, etc) put in our own storage (YAY!).

You’d think this would trigger happiness. Contentment. Excitement? Nope. Complete domestic meltdown. Kids want to skip school (NO!) to stay home and (get this…) “help.”ย  Husband is acting like a loon b/c he has to take the kids to their schools tomorrow while I wait on the delivery peeps. The house has to be clean (come on guys! We are STILL living out of suitcases!).

Kids and husband are squabbling…and for what?

Nothing. No reason what-so-ever. Everyone is ready for this move to be over. No one more than I, I assure you. Throughout this process I’ve done my best to keep quiet. Not complaining about the folding chair and makeshift desk, or lying in sleeping bags on the floor, or the insane drive to and from Dallas for our car.

So tonight…I told them to be quiet. Stop worrying. I had it under control. They weren’t allowed to say another word about their stuff to parents or each other. There was some serious grumbling going on, but it died off after a few hours.

“After all,” I said, “It will all be over sooooon.”

With that cryptic remark, I gave a creepy, hollow laugh and stared at each of the boys, in turn. They then decided the stress had broken me, so I was left alone to write. Ah bliss.

So that leads me to my mid-week update for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

What have I worked on?

  • I sent in my submission for Entangled Publishing’s pitch contest. Didn’t receive a confirmation email so I’m not sure if I should stress or not (Destitute and Undead ended at a little under 15k. Glad I rechecked the edits before hitting send. I was a little heavy handed with the commas).
  • I’m 5200 words into book 1 of my WTF Dragon series (blame Kim Knox for this one. She said go crazy and let loose. It was a dare, and you know how I am about those!).
  • Received my first reader review for Primal Hunger. So awesome! I got 5 stars out of 5 on the Ellora’s Cave site. So cool! Heidi said she was hoping Primal Hunger would become the start of a series. I get to say I got the green light on it, right?? LOL. So yeah, you’ll see more of the *Hunger-verse in the future.
  • Tore apart A Familiar Kiss (yesterday’s post showed how that went down ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I should have that puppy to my editor by V-day.
  • I’ve become a coffee time romance author! They’ve asked me to post on the blog, and I can’t wait! I’ll get all their widgets and stuff up on my site this weekend. I also set up my amazon author page. Love you guys for suggesting them for me last week!
  • Final outline of Thief. I needed a different arc to make it more contemporary.

Goals for the rest of the week:

  • Decompress
  • Unpack
  • Set up my office/bedroom
  • Finish No Dragon, No Problem (WTF Dragon #1)
  • Start Thief
  • Try to ignore my stress over Destitute and Undead‘s submission. LOL!

I hope this post made you laugh (I know I was laughing). Reading it out loud to my family brought out some pretty awesome chuckles, so I think it’s a win with them too.

Dawn

This is a BLOG HOP! Check out some other authors HERE!

*Note: the Hunger-verse is a tongue-in-cheek series name. I call it the Sheon Wars, but that’s not as lighthearted.

Walkin on sunshine

In Write Talk on February 7, 2012 at 2:14 am

It’s Monday night/Tuesday morning and I’m up. Completely and totally awake. I had fallen asleep, but when something wakes me up, it’s almost impossible for me to get back to sleep.

Nights like this are equally wonderful and cringe-worthy. I can (occasionally) create a large amount of wordage during in a short time. It might not be my best work, but it will be interesting to read the next day. Most of the time, however, I use this time to reflect. Not on my life, for which I have no regrets, or my current situation. I reflect on characters. Let my mind wander. This, btw, was something I picked up from my drama teacher years ago.

Most of the time I see a book as though I’m watching a movie. No joke. I’ve chatted with plenty of writers over the years, and I have to say that there are as many ways to write as there are stars in the sky. I won’t judge your way. Don’t judge mine. If it’s working, I’m not changing. ๐Ÿ™‚

I put characters in situations, desperate ones usually, and I let them go through their normal reactions. If they’re acting out of character, my mind will freeze, kind of like pause. I’ll sit and figure out why. Most of the time it’s an easy fix. I get to know my characters this way. Other times, I’ll think about a story I’m working on and trek down the plot trail poking holes at all the inconsistencies and silly things I tend to put in my books.

Sometimes I’ll let a story idea spin out in my mind. If I can clearly see the end, it’s something I jot down for later. Otherwise they slip through my mind like favorite commercials or songs. Most of the time I won’t remember those bits, but if I do…I know it’s a keeper.

So what am I reflecting on tonight? I’m in the middle of an awesome story for my Changeling editor (A Familiar Kiss). I wrote the novella, and everything about it seemed wrong. The characters, situation, and relationships were crammed in 25k. Everything seemed rushed. So last night I sat down with a notebook and pen (old school, right? :D), and jotted down a few questions.

  1. How many characters do I have in this book? Answer: 10. In a 25k novella? There’s a problem…
  2. Where does the book drag? Answer: Chapters 1, 2, 5, 7, 11
  3. What don’t I like about the book? Answer: The character introduction at the beginning of chapter one. It bugs me. I don’t want her best friend there, but I need him to be involved. He just doesn’t seem to add anything to the initial scenes.
  4. What are my key plot points AND in what chapters do they happen? (ooooo. Asking those writerly questions! Don’t groan. You’re gonna like this. Promise ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

So what does this mean (I wish I had my scanner)?

Well…I wrote each chapter number down on a legal pad. Then I set up three columns.

Stars were put next to chapters 1, 2, 5, 7, and 11.

1st column: I went through the book and wrote down which characters made an appearance in each chapter. Chapter one had four characters (hero, heroine, best friend, villain sidekick). Chapter two had five characters (hero, heroine, best friend, healer, bodyguard). Chapter five, seven, and eleven had more than five characters. The rest of the chapters had three or less characters. Not necessarily the SAME characters, but three none-the-less.

2nd column: I wrote down key plot points for each chapter. Three things I paid attention to were

  1. Did each chapter begin with a hook to keep the reader’s interest? If so, what was it (just jot down the notes. It can be as vague or as specific as you like)?
  2. Was the plot point of the chapter strong enough to carry the story? Where did it fail? Did I have multiple plot points in one chapter?
  3. Pace and end of chapter climax. Was the pace consistent? Note where there were any snags. Does the chapter end in a climax of some type? Shock. Surprise. Awe. The point is to keep the reader intrigued enough to turn the page instead of setting aside the book or powering down the ereader to pick up later. If there is no climax at the end…note what the chapter DID end with.

So what did I find out? In my trouble chapters at least one of the three questions questions weren’t answered. At LEAST three. In one chapter all three questions weren’t answered. Ugh. No wonder I hated those chapters. I found that a few other chapters outside my trouble chapters needed work too. And that’s okay…here’s why:

3rd column: Here’s where we fix it using: A wish. Duct tape. Sweat. Those are the three things you’ll cover. Let me ‘splain.

  1. Go into this part as though you didn’t have to rewrite your book. As though you were in the middle of brainstorm sessions. Pretend that it’s not going to cause you heartache or stress. Just look at this as though it’s wishful thinking (I know I’ll be wishing someone else was rewriting the chapters. I hate rewriting far more than creating something new). Write down what you’d like to see happen. (Drop best friend out of this chapter, Ratchet up the sexual tension when blah blah)
  2. Now that you’ve made your wishful thinking list, you can compare it with what you already have. The best friend drink sharing moment at the beginning is going to have to go. Which leads us to the next part. Sweating it out.
  3. There’s no way to keep the best friend scene at the beginning. So I can salvage a great deal of the chapter, and in four sentences or less, let the readers know why she’s there. No large info-dump. No annoying flashbacks (I happen to not like writing them b/c they tend to take over my stories). So a six page scene involving the best friend becomes: Only Brandon’s desperate call would bring her out tonight. The slur in his voice told her he was already gone. Alcohol stopped the visions for a while, but they always came back with a vengeance. Magic was funny like that. Is it the best four sentences evah? Not yet. That’s what revisions are for. ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember, this is the rough draft. The initial chisel and hammer work on stone or marble. It’s not perfect. Just down on the paper. Make sure you do this for all the problem chapters in your ms.

For me, sweating it out is the hardest part of the equation. I absolutely hate cutting chunks of character out of my books, but like the surgical precision of competition One-Act-Plays, pace is vital to keeping audience interest.

So now I know where I need to cut, add stuff, and modify. That leaves me with a plan for tomorrow. And with that…I’m heading to bed.

Keep Writing!

Dawn

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