Thursday, November 30, 2006
Got to dash
So, no soccer this weekend, just car buying. Maybe some shopping. Off to read. There's more stuff to say but I'll say it later. Got to dash. I need to find out how Zsadist gets his HEA.
Note: Blogger wouldn't post this when I wrote it, which was Thurs. eve.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/30/2006 09:38:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Reviews of Shards of Crimson!
Since I've never been in an anthology before, I wasn't sure how reviews would deal with 4 stories rather than one. Well, the answer so far is what I suspected. There's a summary of the 4 plots and a brief statement of overall impression. The only strangeness I've found is that Amazon Canada thinks Shards is a Time Travel. Nope. Paranormal
Let the review neurosis begin. Argh.. No Stupid Web Tricks, Carolyn. Please.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/26/2006 04:32:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, November 25, 2006
On Writing. And Stuff
MaryJanice Davidson's post over on MagicalMusings.com. Go read that.
Then read what Tess Gerritson has to say about essentially the same thing.
Interesting stuff. You need to do both things to succeed in this business. Persevere and continually strive to improve.
I did the paper read through of Scandal. I have good news and bad news. Keeping the two posts above in mind, see if you can figure out which is which: I got through chapters 1-3 without doing massive surgery. Chapter 2 needs some of the same thing I did to chapter 1 last time around, which is invest more of my heroine in it. Not surprising, since I only recently rewrote this from her point of view. I even got through chapter 4 (with massive edits) but when I got to chapter 5 I realized chapter 4 needs to be deleted. Sigh. Chapter 5 was surprisingly interesting. Chapter 6 may also need to be deleted. Or else something else entirely needs to happen. I think it's something else entirely. There's not enough at stake in the chapter. Chapter 7 may be OK, but it needs work. Understandable since it's not a chapter I've gotten to very often lately, and I recently did a massive shift on that chapter so it's rough. On page 65 of chapter 8 I wrote the word boring and then stopped and went shopping. Then I got my hair done. (Why, yes, I do look glamorous!) Then I came home and started entering in the paper edits -- there's no point in looking at the rest of the paper stuff until I fix and/or delete these other chapters. There were more than a couple but fewer than several spots where I felt like I was in my hero's head for real. And I have no idea how I did that, except by doing this -- writing and editing and writing and writing and deleting and starting over and writing and editing ad infinitum, it sometimes seems.
So, what's the good news and the bad news? Hah. Trick question. The real answer is all of it is good news. I know what has to go, what needs to stay, what needs work, and there are places where it's my voice in full.
If you read this blog at all, you know I've been working on Scandal for a really long time, that two other books have been published since I started on this freaking story, and that two others have sold since then, too. I haven't given up because I believe in the story. And I know I have to work like a dog on my writing. For every book. Every time. Even though my books get published (so far).
posted by Carolyn @ 11/25/2006 07:41:00 PM Permalink
Friday, November 24, 2006
Numbers Game (or why I'm not getting any work done)
Character Number: 8
Heart Number : 8
Social Number: 9
8 Eight indicates the possibility of great success in business, finance, and politics. Eights are practical, ambitious, committed, and hard working. They can also be jealous, greedy, domineering, and power-hungry. Eight is said to be the most unpredictable of numbers and can indicate the pinnacle of success or the depths of failure; the potential to go either way is present from the beginning.
9 Represents completion and achievement to the fullest degree (as it is the complete number, three, expressed three times). Nines dedicate themselves to service, often as teachers, scientists, and humanitarians. Strongly determined, they work tirelessly and are an inspiration to others. However, they can also be arrogant and conceited when things don't go their way.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/24/2006 08:37:00 PM Permalink
Hiding in the Holiday
Yesterday I finished a vampire book that was OK. The style was ala MaryJanice Davidson, but not as well done. It was OK. Not a keeper, though. I've started reading Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.
My son and I finished Stroud's Ptolemy's Gate. The ending surprised me. I'm still not sure what I think. Except, of course, that I highly recommend the entire series.
Whew. No more fun with images. That was too hard. And forget about links, I'm too exhausted from this.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/24/2006 07:26:00 PM Permalink
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
OK, now I'm not irritated
Wow. I'll savor this for quite a while. Forever probably.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/21/2006 09:41:00 PM Permalink
i r r i t a t e d
"Well, maybe that's how it works when you're writing for masses."
Yeah. Because people who read "literary" books don't want any tension in their books. And all literary novels should have prologues that give away the whole freaking story. No action in literature! By golly, if there's something interesting happening on the page, you'd better f'n delete it before someone accidentally keeps reading.
And if you're trying to write a literary novel, here's some more advice. If you wrote it, it must be good. And, there's zero chance that anyone will disagree, and if they do, they're idiots, so you can safely ignore them. Also, start your story about 5 years before the actual plot starts and include everything you can think of so that your reader knows all about the characters lives before anything actually happens. Context is important.
Because I like to be helpful, here's a list of ways to start out your novel:
- Your protagonist wakes up. (should take at least an hour!) Note: Do NOT have your character wake up as a giant bug. Sheesh!
- A scene in which your protagonist is unpleasant, self-absorbed and thinking about something that happened ten years ago. It's helpful if there's no dialogue. It's especially helpful if this scene is set weeks away from anything that happens.
- A prologue. Make sure you give away the entire plot!
- Write in the present tense*
- Every third word is an adjective or adverb. When you're done, add several more.
- Leave out detail. Alternatively, put in extra helpings of detail. Detail for EVERYTHING
- Have your protagonist explain everything he or she says, then restate in narrative.
* I threw that in because I happen to dislike present tense. Probably because it reminds me of writing a synopsis.
I mean, golly, Jack London never had tension or plot or action. Or Toni Morrison. Or Michael Chabon. Or--
Lookit. Novels are stories. Stuff happens in stories. Even literary ones.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/21/2006 07:48:00 PM Permalink
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I've been reading my son the last volume of the Bartimaeus trilogy, Ptolemy's Gate and I'm enjoying it a lot. Perhaps not quite as good as the first two. For some reason his editor seems to have fallen down on the job and let him get away with some really really irritating sentence fragments (which I fix when I read out loud -- it just happens.) But Stroud at his best is a master of the high tension scene, and Bartimaeus is rippingly funny.
Anyway. Off to the store.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/19/2006 03:35:00 PM Permalink
Friday, November 17, 2006
Basically, though, I intend to shoot for the 857 words per day because that will get me comfortably done with time for critiquing and revisions. Not to mention that the semester ends in June, and the first book will be my final project for grad school, so as long as the tuckus gets in the chair, I'll be fine.
I'm kind of hoping I can quickly get Scandal into fighting shape. But starting tomorrow I'm going to be working on Magellan's Witch, the title my agent liked best. Obviously, Possession was never going to fly, but I kind of liked Ruby Eye.
Anyway, there's no soccer tomorrow so I can sleep in. I'm going to go get a head start on that now.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/17/2006 09:50:00 PM Permalink
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Happy Dancing Plus
What else? For sure I'll complete my MA next semester. Pardon the typing, my cat Jake is swishing his tail in my face. Being done with school will be wonderful. All I have to do is my final project, which will be the first of the two books for Warner, and then write a critical essay about my writing process etc.
And now, to bed because it's late and I'm tired.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/16/2006 09:44:00 PM Permalink
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
A Killer Lurks
I don't believe anyone at the gym understood the importance of what I was doing. I heard no gasps of disbelief, no cries of "For the love of God, not that paragraph!" I just did it. Exactly like the commercial says (does Nike still say that? I don't really know since I haven't been near a T.V. in about 10 years.) With malice aforethought, I deleted stuff that didn't fit any more. I should have realized it much much sooner, but actually, until I started the paper read-through, I didn't see it as clearly because I've been working more on nailing the opening chapters.
I feel so much better. Well, except for the part about being depressed about having written a lot that had to be whacked. Other than that, I feel better.
So in case anyone missed the point here it is: Being a writer is about being a ruthless assassin. I heard the pages crying for mercy save me! save me! but I offed their little paper @sses anyway. I was tired of them hanging around messing up my story. They had to go.
OK, I'm done for the night. I have more reading for school tomorrow and then a long day tomorrow during which things may or may not be resolved. Should be. I'm waiting for that, too.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/15/2006 09:18:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, November 11, 2006
posted by Carolyn @ 11/11/2006 11:14:00 PM Permalink
Desperately Seeking . . .
Then we came home and I made cookies and ate too many. Then I worked for another thousand years. About twenty minutes later, I remembered I needed to finish the Unexpected Synopsis, which I did. Just to point out how much I didn't want to fix chapter 2, I actually preferred to finished the synopsis. Then I made dinner and worked on one of the Crossword Club's puzzles from hell. I figured out the trick (there is always a nasty little trick) but I'm still stumped on some. Then I went back to Chapter 2 from Hell and started it in a different place and now it's working better, only now I'm taking this break.
I'm listening to Alan Jackson's latest album Like Red On a Rose. I love this album. It's fantastic for writing to. There are multiple songs I listen to over and over, and let's face it, how many albums have more than 1 or 2 incredible songs? This one has several.
OK. Back to work for another thousand years.
P.S. Tuesday should be a good news day. Here's hoping so.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/11/2006 07:38:00 PM Permalink
Friday, November 10, 2006
Who wrote that?
Second off, it's been a crazy busy week with me not actually feeling so hot. I confess I did not write as much as I should have, which is to say I spent more time notebooking the Unexpected Synopsis than I did writing. I lost a contact lens and have to wear my glasses until I get properly fit for new lenses. Great. (Said with much sarcasm) I can't see anything. I ate too much yesterday. I've got more to complain about but I guess I won't.
I started reading one of the ARCs for Shards of Crimson. I'm going to read straight through. Liz's story was totally cool. When I read mine, it was one of those Did I really write that? experiences. I did pretty good! This is particularly a good thing right now because I have been freaking out about perhaps being a fraudster sort of writer, but DX suggests maybe I am not. Which gives me much needed confidence just now. I have Jade's and Patti's to go.
I've been working on Scandal, responding to some critiquing of it. I realized that my heroine is, at the moment, fading away in the face of my hero. This is an issue with me. I have to work much harder at my heroines than I do on my heros. So, I've just started re-writing Chapter 2 of Scandal from my heroine's point of view. I notebooked her at the gym this morning to make sure I really have a handle on where she is when this book opens. I think I do. I really, really, really want to get Scandal to the point where I can feel confident about sending it to my wonderful agent.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/10/2006 09:11:00 PM Permalink
Monday, November 06, 2006
Agony. Pure Agony
Back to the agony pits of synopsis hell.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/06/2006 09:50:00 PM Permalink
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Still writing after all this time
I have a couple of new CD's that I'm finally getting around to listening to. Two are pretty amazing. Facing Future by Iz Kamakawiwo'ole. Wow. Most of the tracks are going to end up on the list of Stuff Carolyn Writes To. Right now I'm listening to Alan Jackson's latest Like Red On A Rose. Yes, I admit it. I am a country fan, and Alan Jackson is one of my favorites. This album is a departure for him and so far I love it. This is music I can write to. I understand why his hardcore country fans are upset, but hey, I'm not hardcore. I just like a singer with a great voice and songs I can sing along to. But, then I guess anyone who listens to Iz and Jackson in the same day isn't hardcore Country. I haven't gotten around to replacing my blues collection, and I do need to do that. I had a lot of the oldies but goodies. Other recent music is Donal Clancy's Close to Home. Good stuff.
Back to work.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/04/2006 11:01:00 PM Permalink
Friday, November 03, 2006
Just taking a little break here
For school I turned in the first three chapters of Scandal (nee The Rake, for anyone who's keeping track) since for reasons I will kind of explain later, it was not practical to turn in more of Possession. Now, I know that romance has a rep, blah blah blah it's always people who've never read it who say the worst things blah blah blah, but I was really pretty surprised. So, this version of Scandal is still a bit rough around the edges. I knew going in that I did not yet have enough setting, etc. So, I expected my classmates would pick up on that. I was as prepared with the Shell of the Turtle as is possible. So, here's the thing: with one or two exceptions, everyone prefaced their remarks with variations on this: I never read this genre, so I don't know if [Insert some flaw] is how this is done for these kinds of books. WTF?? Do you see the problem? I started getting steamed because they all assumed that such books are badly written. The problem wasn't the writing, the problem was that such books, which they said they never read (so how would they know?) have such flaws.
I turned in 31 pages, 11 pages over the maximum anybody has to read. And here's the thing: everyone finished. Everyone was engaged with the story. Nobody was bored or confused (except as noted) The main problem was that my opening 2 pages were not as clear as they should have been as to who the characters were. too many names bumping around. They loved my heroine and my hero, too (even though I need to make it clear that he has been madly in love with her since long before the story starts, he was attributed some stereotypical characteristics that I did not intend.) So, yes, I got exactly the feedback I was looking for. I'm not complaining about that. I'm irritated that the flaws of my as yet unfinished chapters were attributed to the nature of the genre. Sorry, but that's my fault, not the fault of historical romance.
The other thing is that the class has seen first three and a half chapters of Possession, and apparently they have failed to identify it as romance. But that's what it is. It's paranormal ROMANCE. None of the issues people had with those chapters were attributed to its genre. And yet, they did so with the historical romance.
I've become convinced that anyone who wants to learn deft storytelling and kick-ass plotting would be well advised to read a lot of genre fiction. Mysteries, Thrillers, Romance, Horror, Suspense. Lots of it. A steady diet of lit-traw-chure may well leave you tension impaired and bigoted, too. Read both. It's better for you that way.
Lastly, I expect to have some deadlines soon, and that's all I can say right now.
posted by Carolyn @ 11/03/2006 07:53:00 PM Permalink