Novel Writing, Writer's Block, Writers on Writing

Writing the boring: How to write transitional material between novel chapters

I struggle to set up each new chapter in my novel. I want to jump right into the dialog and action and keep the story moving along. While writing the first installment of Valley of the Bees, I did just that. I wrote the story in the throes of momentum and didn’t slow down for anything as uninteresting as setting up my chapters properly. When all was said and done, my story came out to around 25,000 words and was in desperate need of transitional material between chapters. Imagine how I felt when I realized that I was going to have to sit down and write all of that boring stuff at once.

back to basics - writing with the five senses

Lesson learned. Continue reading “Writing the boring: How to write transitional material between novel chapters”

Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

Setting goals and reaching them late… one way or another

I always plan to write over winter break, but somehow it never happens. I work at a University that closes for almost two whole weeks the end of December. Perfect time to get some writing done, right? Apparently not!

So then January came along, and I buckled in and started writing regularly. I have been scheduling it into my day, but not giving myself too much grief if I occasionally get off track. And I must say, it has been going pretty well for me. I am writing at least three days a week (while working a full-time job and single-momming two rowdy boys in the process) and hacking out the first draft of book two of my Valley of the Bees series a few pages (and sometimes a few sentences) at a time.

My goal was 20,000 words by the end of January. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I did get close. And today – three days into February – I ALMOST made it finally. Of course, I typed the final word of the chapter I was working on, looked down at my word count, and saw this:

19,999 words toward my 20,000 word goal. Seriously?
19,999 words toward my 20,000 word goal. Seriously?

Of course! I was one word shy of my goal! Seriously? Continue reading “Setting goals and reaching them late… one way or another”

Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

Learning a bit more and getting a bit better each day

Basic writing
Basic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I blogged about how I have used outlines to help me write the first two books in my upcoming Valley of the Bees trilogy. Today, I would like to talk a bit about what I am doing different while writing book II.

As I mentioned yesterday, I wrote book I, With Envy Stung, in a rush. I pushed myself to write a chapter each and every day over a 16-day period. This left me with some extremely light chapters. There was no set-up or transitions for any of these chapters. Instead, I just jumped right into the action and/or dialog and got right to it. Continue reading “Learning a bit more and getting a bit better each day”

Books --> Movies, Writers on Writing

Take your time, George R. R.

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...
English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenščina: George R.R. Martin med podpisovanjem knjig v ljubljanski knjigarni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This just in: George R. R. Martin has missed his last television deadline for finishing the final book in the Game of Thrones series. (Read about it here.)

GASP!

Raise your hand if you are angry with Martin for failing to meet a television deadline.

Looks around.

No one?

Notices a lone hand in the back.

You’re not a writer, are you? No? Put your hand down.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Game of Thrones television series. In fact, I made the mistake of watching the T.V. show before reading the books, and now I can’t get into the books (I’m weird like that.) So yeah, I haven’t read more than a couple of chapters of Martin’s series. But I still can’t get upset with him for failing to meet his television deadlines. Continue reading “Take your time, George R. R.”

Essays, Writers on Writing

What if writing full-time isn’t right for you?

How often have you thought about quitting your day job and writing full-time? That’s what we are all supposed to be aiming for, right? Someday, we think, we will make enough money writing that we can tell our employers to take our crappy day jobs and shove ‘em where the sun don’t shine. Anyway, that’s what we’re supposed to want. But what happens if it turns out that dream isn’t right for you?

Take this job and shove it. writing meme
Take this job and shove it.

I spent a few years freelancing, and let me tell you: It was not what it was cracked up to be. I had to really hustle to make a living, and then the self-employment headaches ended up being more trouble than they were worth. The line between my personal life and my professional life blurred to the point where I felt like I was working 24/7. Continue reading “What if writing full-time isn’t right for you?”

Uncategorized, Writers on Writing

My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions

REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2
REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2 (Photo credit: curious_spider)

Today I am participating in the TerribleMinds PenMonkey Evaluation. Here are the answers to my writing survey questions:

  1. What’s your greatest strength/skill in terms of writing/storytelling? –> Dialog. The voices make me do it.
  2. What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble? –> Description. I touched on that just a couple of days ago here
  3. How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them? –> Well, that’s a bit personal, isn’t it? Okay. Well. Finished? Can I count my one completed first draft that I’m still revising? I have several other first drafts that I’m still plugging away on, but that’s it as far as actually “finishing” a book. Unless you count my book of amateurish poems I slapped up on Kindle a while back. As far as other projects go, my blogs are doing awesome. Besides this one winning an actual award (as opposed to a Liebster or something like that,) I have been steadily gathering new readers each week. Continue reading “My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions”
Conventions & Conferences, Writers on Writing

Keep That Smile: The Booker Wright Story

"Finding Booker's Place" aired on Dateline NBC
“Finding Booker’s Place” aired on Dateline NBC July 15, 2012.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation titled, Keep that Smile: The Booker Wright Story at Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend, Wisconsin. The presentation was conducted by Booker Wright’s granddaughter, writer and filmmaker Yvette Johnson.

Booker Wright was an African-American waiter who worked in a white-only restaurant in Greenwood, Mississippi in the early 1960’s. In 1965, he appeared in a short NBC television documentary titled, Mississippi: A Self Portrait: Continue reading “Keep That Smile: The Booker Wright Story”

Writers on Writing

What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

Writer's Block 1
What’s the worst thing someone could say to you when you’re suffering from writer’s block? | Writer’s Block 1 (Photo credit: NathanGunter)

As writers, we know how rare it is for our friends and relatives to really “get” what we do and why we do it. We know they love us and want to support us, but sometimes they make thoughtless comments that make us want to wring their necks. I recently asked my online writer’s group what was the worst “advice” they have received from well-meaning friends and family members. Here are some of the responses I received:

Random Writing Rants, Writers on Writing

You gotta be you, I gotta be me

Thinking
Getting to your best writing requires very little conscious thought. | Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Picture it: Sicily, 1965. Wait. No. That’s the Golden Girls. Remember them? But I digress.

Picture it: You wake before your alarm and lie in bed waiting for your alarm to catch up. You get an idea. A brilliant idea. You should get up and start writing immediately, but your bed is so warm and snug. So, you don’t. Instead, you lay there for an hour, waiting for your alarm to make you get up, turning the idea in your head. It’ll be okay. You can write it down after you get up. It will still be brilliant then.

Only, it’s not. Somehow, the words that slipped through the sieve of your morning mind refuse to maintain their original early morning brilliance. On the page, they are wooden and just not quite right. What happened? Where did you go wrong? Was the idea just not as brilliant as you thought it was? Continue reading “You gotta be you, I gotta be me”

Music, Random Writing Rants, Writers on Writing

What do you listen to while you write?

The topic of what to listen to while writing seems to be a popular one on writing blogs. Some writers set up entire play lists designed to get them in the right mood to work on a specific project. Others claim to listen to NPR while they write. I am sometimes embarrassed to tell people what I listen to.

It’s not that I don’t love music. The problem is, I love it a little too much. I have a hard time listening to music and writing at the same time because I often catch myself sitting back in my chair with my eyes closed, singing along to my latest favorite song (which right now is Counting Stars by One Republic.) This is not exactly the most productive way to write!

I don’t mind writing in silence when I’m at the library. If I write at a coffee shop (which I just realized I haven’t done in months,) I write to the background noise of clanking cups and murmured conversations at other tables. At the state park near my house, I write to the music of a breeze rustling through leaves, kids shouting down by the beach, and boats roaring across the lake. Continue reading “What do you listen to while you write?”