Novel Writing

Reining it in: How to focus your #story so it doesn’t run away with you #amwriting

Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. P...
Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. Photos taken by Eadweard Muybridge (died 1904), first published in 1887 at Philadelphia (Animal Locomotion). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My new novel has topped 3,500 words of notes as I freewrite and brainstorm my way into an outline. I had a moment today when a sudden realization about what my novel is really about struck me. A shiver ran down my spine as I realized the possible implications of the totally subversive idea that emerged from the murky depths of my subconscious mind.

“This is big,” I thought.

And then, “This is probably going to piss a lot of people off.”

Muahahaha!

Not literally, but I was thinking it.

As I typed out the details of my idea, another idea struck me. By “struck me,” what I mean is that it wacked me upside the head like a baseball bat. Continue reading “Reining it in: How to focus your #story so it doesn’t run away with you #amwriting”

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eBooks, Novel Writing, Valley of the Bees

New cover design & website reveal

Today, I am excited to reveal the official, professional cover design of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 and also announce that Valley of the Bees has its very own website!

Cover Design by Jennifer DeWeese at jendy.threadless.com.
Cover Design by Jennifer DeWeese at jendy.threadless.com.

Early this month, I learned that Smashwords was having a giant, sitewide sale that sounded like the perfect opportunity to market my new novel. If only I had my book set up for pre-order, I would be able to add links to the end of all of my other books and offer those books for free for the entire month. But I didn’t yet have my pre-order set up.

What to do? Get my pre-order set up already and get to work, of course! Continue reading “New cover design & website reveal”

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”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing, Romance

2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: Act 2 Scene Assignment 3

Write a scene in which your hero and heroine need to cooperate to get something done. Maybe they will decide to be friends or at least come to an agreement to be civil to one another until the task is complete.

Continue reading “2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: Act 2 Scene Assignment 3”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing, Writing Prompts

NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Rock ‘n Roll Zombie

rock n roll zombies
In case you wondered, this is the image that launched today’s NaNoWriMo writing prompt. I saw it on Facebook. I don’t know who it belongs to. If it’s yours, please let me know so I can add an attribution and throw you a link from my site.

What do you do if you want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year but you don’t know what to write and trashy romance novels just aren’t your thing? Why not try a writing prompt? I came up with one this morning that is completely different than the romance novel prompt I gave you a few days ago. If you like zombies, this one might be right up your alley! Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Rock ‘n Roll Zombie”

Novel Writing, Writing Prompts

Free novel idea: Three-Quarter Classified

A Novel Idea
Let me lend you a novel idea. | A Novel Idea (Photo credit: Jennifer Pickens)

I don’t know about you, but I get far more novel ideas than I could ever hope to write in one lifetime. I get so many story ideas, sometimes I just let them fly by and disappear into the never-written without ever bothering to stop and write them down. This morning, while reading a blog post on generating story ideas, I couldn’t help wondering if someone out there might one day be interested in taking one of my extra ideas and running with it.

Right now, I have four different novels in progress that I am determined to complete before starting any new projects. My notebook of new ideas is filling up as fast as my novel notebooks are. I couldn’t possibly write all of these novels, even if I lived three extra-long lifetimes. So, why not share some of my extra story ideas? Continue reading “Free novel idea: Three-Quarter Classified”

Novel Writing, Reading

How to ensure your novel is what’s read next

Goodreads Avatar
Determining what to read next can be far more complicated than simply grabbing a book off the shelf. | Goodreads Avatar (Photo credit: minifig)

I have a complicated system for deciding what book I want to read next. First, I constantly keep my eyes peeled for books I might want to read. For example, this morning I read a blog post interview with self-publishing author Aimee Kuzinski. She caught my attention when she mentioned that the hardest part of writing her latest novel, Eye of the Storm, was realizing during the editing phase that she had a major plot hole that needed to be fixed. The fact that she took the time to go ahead and plug that hole rather than rushing her book to publication made me want to read her book.

I should probably mention that the premise of Kuzinski’s novel sounded promising as well. Seriously, what is wrong with me that the writer’s effort to produce a quality product is more likely to catch my attention than her story telling? Maybe I need to work on that. But I digress. Continue reading “How to ensure your novel is what’s read next”

Setting, Writers on Writing

Writing the second draft

The Story Thus Far
My story thus far is full of dialog but lacking in the description department. How about yours? | The Story Thus Far (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy first day of autumn!

I am currently working my way through draft #2 of the novel I wrote for the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. What goes into a second draft probably varies from one writer to the next. Dialog and action come easy for me. Description? Not so much. I can do description, but it simply does not pour out of me as dialog does. For me, description takes a lot of work.

When writing my first draft, I literally listen to the voices in my head and write down what they say. I am nothing more than a glorified court reporter. The result is what I think is an exciting story that is set in the empty expanse of Vagueland. While the dialog thrills me, the average reader would be lost in an attempt to determine where and when, exactly, this story takes place. I can picture it, but I haven’t yet built it on the page. Continue reading “Writing the second draft”

Education, Essays, Novel Writing

Make teaching and learning part of your writing process.

The Longman Writer: Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook (8th Edition)
This semester, I am teaching out of The Longman Writer: Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook (8th Edition.) You can buy a copy here.

This semester, I am teaching one section of English Composition I at my local technical college. This is not a course I particularly care to teach. The first semester I taught it was a disaster. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I definitely didn’t know the material well enough to teach it. It was a horrible experience for everyone involved. This semester, I finally feel like I kinda know what I am doing. And it’s having a positive impact on my writing.

Tuesday was our first day of class, and I killed it. I was well prepared, I knew what I was talking about and best of all, the students were engaged. I left class that afternoon thinking, “Where the hell did that come from?” Continue reading “Make teaching and learning part of your writing process.”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 6 | Breaking the rules, starting a new project

"Writing", 22 November 2008
I actually had a very productive writing week. | “Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

This week, I am breaking one of those fundamental writing rules. You know the one about how you should finish one project before starting the next? Yeah, well, I totally broke it.

My existing work in progress (WIP) seems hopelessly stalled at the moment. I know what the problem is. My focus is too broad. I need to start cutting, but I can’t decide where to start. I decided to do some experimenting with a simplified story line to gain some perspective on my problem. Next thing I knew, I’d mapped out an entire new novel project and written a first chapter to go with it.

Yes, I broke the rule.

At least I am writing again. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 6 | Breaking the rules, starting a new project”