Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Self Imposed Deadlines

Since I haven't got a publishing deal yet, I have to set my own deadlines to meet so I can get focused on finishing project. For example, my current deadline is to finish the first chapter of my new project by this Friday so I have something to spin off into a new book. I hope it works out, because sometimes starting a new project is difficult and it's always the first chapter that is the hardest. Once I get that completed it becomes much easier.

So that is my current deadline. What sort of deadlines do you set for yourself and how strict are you on keeping them? I like to keep them just to keep me motivated, but I miss them at times. I don't let it bother me since they are self imposed, but still I like to get in the habit of meeting them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The excitement of a new idea

This past week, I've been mulling over a new story idea. Something different than my normal stuff. It's going to be set a little bit more based in reality with a little bit of a futuristic slant to it. I have written only the opening scene so far, and I am still playing with the name of the main characters. This is probably the most exciting and fun moment in writing. The fresh idea.

It makes you believe anything is possible, lots of tangents flow from your mind and everything seems to click in your mind. The only bummer is that sometimes, when you do this from the seat of your pants like I do, it's hard to focus on the best details, so you go through a lot of fluff.

I could outline, but then that takes some of the excitement out of writing the story, because everything is planned out and organized. I don't know, what do you think about new ideas? Do you love them and cherish them, or do you interrogate them to find whether or not it lives up to the possibilities of being a full fledged novel?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Sorry for missing Wednesday, it was a busy day for me and I just didn't get around to posting this then.

I received this game for Christmas this past year and as being a fan of previous Zelda games, I figured it would be worth the price of admission.

Let's start off with the story: this is supposed to be the very first tale in the Zelda universe, yet it doesn't feel that different from any of the other numerous versions. You still know Zelda, she gets lost, you go find her. However, this one has some nice twists and turns along the way, it still follows this format. It's not a bad thing at all, because it works and is reliable. Nothing wrong with that.

The graphics: These are probably the best graphics I have seen on the Wii. Very colorful, vibrant, and didn't have any issues with them.

The controls: I felt that the WiiMotion Plus was a bit much and that is my only downfall with the game. At times I didn't move the sword exactly right and then I would get hit and fall off a ledge. Or my shield wouldn't come out fast enough and I would nailed. Added some unnecessary frustration to the experience. I'm not sure I would like to play another motion control game just because of the sometimes finicky nature of motion controls.

Overall: I felt that the game about an 8 out of 10 for me. I liked most of the experience, but sometimes the controls added frustration where there didn't need to be any.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Agent Research

Since I'm in the process of querying, I thought I would share some of the things that I am using to target my agents. - Wonderful source of information, including links to a lot of resources and a way to track who you have and have not queried. Also has a great forum. I especially like the quick query button where it makes it easy to send out email queries and it even keeps the query on file so you know what query you used on them. - Another resource for agent information. Has details about their previous deals, as well as what they are looking for now.

Facebook - If the agent has a profile, you can usually use their status updates to figure out what sort of project they are looking for right now. Not always, but some agencies also have their own Facebook pages.

Twitter - Love twitter just because of its informality. You get some good personal info on agents if you follow them and as an added bonus get to make connections as well.

Google - Just searching for an agent's name can usually pull up recent interviews for them allowing you to get an idea of current trends and a sense of them as people.

The agent's website - The BEST source for information on recent submission guidelines and details about their policy on whether or not they reply to all queries or if no reply means "no."

These are the main tools that I'm using. What do you do when researching agents? Am I missing any resources that I should be using?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Character Interview - Rebecca

I haven't done an interview in a while so I thought I would do a big one, my main character Rebecca Stevens is joining us today.

So how are you doing today Rebecca?

All right, been sleeping better and really enjoying my abilities again. 

I thought you were scared of your abilities? What changed?

I've learned to control them a lot better. Being able to use them in front of other people without being scared helps a lot. My family has been supportive and it's nice for them to accept me.

What have you been up to since... you know everything?

Trying to chill. Trying to be a normal girl again. You know, anything that isn't so stressful.

Have you seen or heard anything regarding The Collector or The Followers?

Some rumors, but nothing that I'm worried about right now. 

Are you worried about them coming after you again?


Why not? Didn't they say they wanted you to join them?

I think they're busy with other things. If they do show up I would have to make it clear to them that I'm not interested in joining them. 

Doesn't it scare you that they are looking for you?

I try not to think about it. I have my family and friends that I can trust nearby, so if they show up, I think we can handle ourselves. I need to get going as I have some plans to get to, take care.

*Rebecca leaves the area in a hurry.*

There you have it. Rebecca Stevens is just trying to get a hang on things now that her life is a whole lot different than it was before.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What to do next?

I have finished my fourth novel recently and have had a little trouble figuring out what to do next. I plan to start in March, and have a few ideas. One is a sequel to my most recent novel, just because I love the world I built and the characters. The other is a middle grade novel  which would be a new experience and I could learn a lot from writing in a younger voice.

My question is mainly would it be bad to switch genre like that before my first book is ever published or picked up? How hard is it to write for two different age groups, I know Shannon Messenger has done it and so has many others, but do you think it is something that I should attempt?

What sort of planning should I do for my new projects, just like I normally do, from the seat of my pants? Go for some planning this time to make the process a bit shorter in the first round? What do you guys do when you are thinking of doing another project, just dive in head first, plan it out?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Too much or too little?

I got a comment on my recent pages saying that I have too little description for a YA book. Now I have some, but have gotten comments in the past that too much description slows down the pace and tension too much.

So my question is what is too much description? What is too little description?

Now there are two passages below from my current piece and wanted to know what you guys thought. Is it too much description or too little?

"The buzz of immense energy flowed into Rebecca Stevens’ fingertips. The fine hair along the nape of her neck prickled as she faced the target—a wooden crate she found lying in the forest, maybe some kid’s fort idea. She surveyed the deserted field, not a soul in sight, exactly how she needed it. Since the kid with the power to control water revealed himself on national television, her world had fallen apart."

"Rebecca leaned forward on the plush couch that was positioned directly across from her father. The thought to reveal her ability to him did cross her mind, but she sighed instead. He wouldn’t understand. The oak table sat between them, and the reflection of the few remaining red embers in the fireplace glowed with occasional pops of life. She dropped her backpack on the floor and fidgeted with the string of her sweatshirt. His brown-eyed glare bored into her until she finally met his stare. Her mother was always there for her, but her father was the one she respected."

What do you guys think? Too much, too little, or just right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WiP Wednesday

I have been going through my manuscript a little bit at a time lately, just to do some final polishes and look for repeated words. It has been going well, so far have been averaging two chapters a week. I have done this before and like to do this while I'm querying before I start on a new project.

What are some of your querying rituals? Do you send them out and then wait patiently? Do you send them out and freak out checking your email every hour? Do you send them out and forget about them until you see the responses in your email?

I've been known to do each and everyone of those methods at one time or another. I have learned over the years to just wait patiently as worrying isn't going to help you at all.

So my question is what project to work on next? A sequel to my current book, or something completely new?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Passive Voice

Thanks to my critique buddies, I have discovered a lot more about writing than I ever thought I would. The connection between writers, even of different genres is amazing.

This weekend, I learned a lot about passive voice. Mainly that I use it a bit too much, which brings me to my other point, how to fix it.

You want to write with action, you want the reader to be there with your characters, and you can't do that if things are happening to them. The characters need to drive the story forward. This idea goes along with show don't tell because usually when you are telling the story, you are generally being passive in your writing. You want to avoid "to be" verbs, such as "was," "were," and "to be." These are just a few of the ones you want to watch out for, but there are many others. There are numerous resources out in the world, but one of the most invaluable one you can find is fellow writers to read through your work and point these out.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Feeling ignored

I want to apologize to all my writing followers, but this post won't be about writing except that it is one of the best things in my life besides my family.

Now if you're still with me, I work a normal day job, the hours suck and I have been there for six years. I get paid commission and the money is all right. It gets me through my bills, usually. But lately, I have started to feel disrespected. As I said I've been there for six years and I applied for a promotion that came up recently, people around me applied too. They got interviews for it, I've done training for the position, I have seniority, yet I didn't get an interview at all. Does that seem fair? Not to me. I found out last night that the interview process was completed and I was told by another person when I applied that I was for sure going to get an interview.

Usually I would just let this slide off my back and just go with the flow and keep my mouth shut, but damn I've done that long enough. I'm tired of being looked past, just sort of being like, "maybe next time." I'm not a verbal person, a little shy for that, but really wanted to just go off and scream, but two bad things from that, could get fired for that, and then that leads to more stress for home life, so I'll just take it and move on I guess.  At least it's a job in this economy.

For those of you still reading, what would you do in this case? Should I just let it go? Should I???? In the end, this is probably all I'll do to complain, but damn if it doesn't just piss me off to no end to get ignored like this. Anyway, sorry for the rant, but over the past six years, this is the first time in a long long time that something from work carried with me over to the next day. I will be back to my normal posting next week.

Thank you for my time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sting of Rejection

As you know, I have started to query again. Only sent out five so far, but each one still has hope attached to it.

Now I've gotten rejections back on two so far, and despite knowing the odds, the rejections still make you doubt your talent and skill. It's not enough for me to give up on such a small sample, but still those thoughts creep back into your head.

What do you do to fight that feeling of inadequacy? Me? I edit, polish, write, something to keep me busy. I don't dwell on the negative for long. You can't. Us writers have a tendency to linger on things like criticism too long at times, and it is counterproductive. So I try to do the opposite and become more productive. It doesn't always work, but at least I try. I do have one rule though, that I give querying my current novel a month before I start on another project. That is usually about 40 queries in that time, maybe more if I'm feeling daring, but I use the time to evaluate my writing and work on coming up with a new idea.

How many of you out there are also joining in on the query adventure for this new year? How are you doing? Any requests? Any feedback from agents? I want to celebrate the querying and dedication to seek that next step in your writing.