Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!!!!

While 2012 was a year of learning and provided lessons in realistic goal setting in my writing life, 2013 will be a year of productivity and project completion.

Initially, I was disappointed with my progress for 2012, with going full-time into writing in June; however, I realized the additional learning and guidance I needed will make 2013 an even more productive year.

I've set realistic goals for 2013, which includes doable daily writing goals and non-writing days. I'm reviewing the 2013 calendar to set weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly deadlines. Yes, I do believe, 2013, we are on our way.

May 2013 bring us all great things!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wishes, Dreams and Goals - 2013 Here I Come!

A wish is a thought about a hope or desire for something imagined. A dream adds images and emotions to that something imagined and exists only inside the mind. A goal is a dream with a plan and a set deadline, supported by outside-of-the-mind actions to bring that imagined something into reality.

I wish could lose weight.

I dream when I imagine wearing attractive clothing and experience how I feel when I slip into a slinky black dress.

That dream becomes a goal when I plan to exercise, change my eating patterns and set a weekly weight lose goal, then implement the plan.

Dreams are not always something directly attainable. I may dream of being on a Best Seller list or two; however, I cannot control the outcome of potential book sales.

What I can control, by setting goals, is the quantity and quality of my writing.

In order to make realistic goals, I need to review the first six months of my writing full-time life, then evaluate where I go from here.

How many chapters/scenes per day can I actually produce, in conjunction with how many chapters am I able to revise per day?

My word count for the last six months equaled +200K, yet due to lack of story direction, close to half of that total is iffy as to whether the material is banked or unusable.

Now that I have the ability to plot and have a definite direction, 2013 should be a much more prolific and productive year.

I wish I could write a thriller series.

I dream and imagine how the book covers will look and enjoy the feeling of my series being read by eager, appreciative readers.

My goal is to write a specific amount of material in a specified amount of time, one day at a time.

Look out 2013, here I come!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Writing Overview

200K?!?! Until I sat down to tally my word count for this blog post, I did not realize that I had written over 200,000 words during the past six months. Since this word count consists of actual first draft words written and does not take into account time spent on revision, I am shocked and a bit taken aback that I was able to produce anywhere near this level of words.

Since most of my days during the last six months have consisted of many your-not-doing-enough moments, the actual realization of what I actually HAVE accomplished is still sinking in.

In setting my initial goals, I did not take into account three factors: 1) a more extensive learning curve than expected, 2) prevalent heath issues, and 3) the very real adjustment of leaving a demanding full-time job.

With all three of the above factors addressed and taken into account, it should be interesting to see what 2013 brings.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012's Fabulous Four Writing Books

2012's top four (4) writing books that have helped me most during my writing journey to write books and make a living doing the same include, in order of usage during the writing process, the following (Amazon descriptions provided):

Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel (Rock Your Writing) 

ROCK YOUR PLOT: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel teaches a clear, flexible process to help you with your:

- Premise: test your premise for inherent conflict and sustainability.

- Characterization: create strong characters with urgent goals, understandable motivation, and tons of obstacles.

- Plot outline, turning points: use those characters to build logical and powerful plot points and complete character arcs.

- Plot outline, scene-by-scene: Develop a sequence of dynamic scenes that propels your reader through your story.

This book goes straight to the point, putting theory in plain language, adding examples from blockbuster stories, and finishing each section with exercises designed to help you work with your characters to write a novel that excites you… and your readers.

Jill Elizabeth Nelson's Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View

Dear Novelist: Would you like your readers to live your stories, not merely read them? Deep Point of View anchors your readers inside the point of view character(s) of your novel. This handbook shows you how to perform the transformation from ordinary narrative to deep narrative in clear, easy-to-master steps. I invite you to sweep your writing to the next level with a technique that creates immediacy and intimacy with your readers and virtually eliminates show/don't tell issues.

Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

Have you ever wanted to double your daily word counts? Do you sometimes feel like you're crawling through your story? Do you want to write more every day without increasing the time you spend writing or sacrificing quality? It's not impossible, it's not even that hard. This is the book explaining how, with a few simple changes, I boosted my daily writing from 2000 words to over 10k a day, and how you can too."

Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Revisions: A Simple System for Revising Your Novel (Rock Your Writing)

ROCK YOUR REVISIONS: A Simple System for Revising Your Novel will show you a clear, easy-to-follow process for editing a novel. It will help you:

- Test for story structure on a macro level, providing detailed checklists for character and plot arcs.

- Test for story structure at the scene level, making sure each serves a purpose in the novel (and hopefully more than one!)

- Gain insight on the mechanics of the novel -- checking POV choice, dialogue, exposition vs. detail (showing versus telling), and more, with a systematic scene-by-scene approach.

This book goes straight to the point, putting theory in plain language, adding illustrative examples, and finishing each section with exercises designed to help you see how to not only edit a novel, but improve your reader's enjoyment of your book.

All four books got me on track, helped me to gain traction and have jump-started my 2013 writing adventure. I would recommend each individually. Read and applied in conjunction with each other, these books provide a powerhouse of information and guidance to move any writer forward in their writing journey. Highly Recommended!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Off to see the Editing Wizard (AutoCrit)

AutoCrit is an actual Manuscript Editing software. Accessible on line, text is cut and pasted into the text box, and with a click of a button an analysis is performed on your pasted text.

The features highlighted by the AutoCrit analysis include:
- Overused words
- Sentence variation
- Cliches and redundancies
- Phrases summary
- Pacing
- Dialogue
- Initial Pronouns
- Readability

AutoCrit software highlights items to be reviewed, such as the overuse of the words then and just (Kathy raises hand). Although I do fairly well with not using cliches or passive voice, using AutoCrit helps me to see, chapter by chapter, what I'm too close to normally see. So if you will excuse me, I'm off of see the Editing Wizard.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hard Work Ahead

As I near the six-month mark of my full-time writing journey, I have discovered there are some writing processes that are much easier and faster than I expected or imagined, yet that "making your novel stand out from the crowd" requires quite a bit of time and effort.

Thanks to Rock Your Plot and Rock Your Revisions, plotting and revisions are no where near as demanding as I expected, yet I have realized First Drafting and working through the techniques presented in Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook is hard work.

The discipline it takes to First Draft sometimes alludes me. Over the past few months, I have experimented with different tools and techniques to increase my production and productivity. Since I'm floundering at present, it's time to review what worked best and what didn't, then re-implement the former.

The brainpower it takes to "add tension" to every page, is exhausting, yet the results are well-worth the effort; however, the time it takes to employ such techniques cannot be discounted when creating a realistic writing schedule.

According to Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Revisions, you can expect to spend three times as long with revisions as you did writing the first draft. Since I'm using her Rock Your Plot process up front, that should cut the time for revision considerably, yet adding the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook techniques will add more time; thus, I need to consider the time involved in realistic revision efforts.

For now, I reevaluate, plan and schedule because there's Hard Work Ahead.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Mission Statement? Hmmm.

Until today, this woman on a mission has never considered developing an actual mission statement.

Sure, I've worked on potential business plans, but I purposefully skipped the part about creating a statement, perhaps because of uncertainty about how to write the statement or indecisiveness toward a definite mission direction. More than likely a mixture of both contributed to my not coming up with a mission statement to assist in the pursuit of my mission.

The one-week course I'm taking on Savvy Authors suggested coming up with task-specific mission statements.

Here goes:

As a writer, my mission is to write books and make a living doing the same by writing quality books for reader entertainment, escape and enjoyment.

The mission of my blog is to chronicle my journey of writing books and making a living doing the same, to share that experience with others and to encourage other writers on their writing journey.

The mission of my Series #1 is to provide entertainment and escape for Young Adult and Adult Crossover readers, and to spark the belief that our family of choice can support us through the worst possible challenges in life.

Look out, world, I'm a woman on a mission with mission statements. There's no stopping me now!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

The Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass is proving to be an excellent tool to deepen the writing of and strengthen the story in Book #1, Series #1. While the book, Writing the Breakout Novel, is an okay resource, the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook provided just what I needed to, along with Rock Your Revisions, to perform a cohesive, take-the-draft-to-the-next level edit.

Breaking out, to me, means going beyond the expected or going below the surface to dig deeper into the plot, character conflict, character qualities, etc.

Once I work through the Workbook for Book #1, I intend to begin again to strengthen the plotting and writing of the first draft of Book #2.

The statement on the back cover of Mr. Maass Workbook says: Make your novel STAND OUT from the crowd!

(Working on it and fingers crossed, Mr. Maass!)

Excellent resource! Highly recommend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Checking It Twice (An Editing Checklist)

A working Checklist for scene edits...kind of like Santa's naughty or nice list -- except mine's a ways-to-make-the-scene-better list -- ensures that I check each scene for potential improvement.

The Anchoring section of the list includes:


For each scene, I make sure the scene is anchored in the Point of View (POV) character's view, in the when of the scene, and in the where of the scene. Also, ensuring the character's voice is prominent and individual for their POV scenes, as well as that their dialogue sounds the way that particular character would talk, is part of my anchoring process.

The Details include:

My goal is to make each scene better. Hmm, maybe Santa was on to something. A hat-tip and my heartfelt thanks to Santa and Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Revisions, for encouraging me to checking my Scene Editing Checklist twice.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Time For Review - Rocking My Revision

According to Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Revisions, the first thing to do, after at least a two-week cooling off period, is to perform a Quick Read of your manuscript.

First off, I have to confirm what Cathy says in Rock Your Revisions. Printing out my entire novel and having a stack of paper before me that represented my novel was quite satisfying.

As I read my draft of Book #1, Series #1, I jotted notes in the margin to address the eight (8) items listed in Rock Your Revisions.

Today, I review my Scene GMCD (Goal, Motivation, Conflict, Disaster) chart, which includes what the character wants in each scene, with the overall story GMC of what the character mainly wants in the story. (For example, a young man wants to help his PTSD conspiracy theorist brother; so, does each of the young man's scenes support that overall goal?) Then, I will look at the Scene Flow and Escalating Conflict.

Rock Your Revisions contains clear direction for revising a completed manuscript and the directions are doable. Rock Your Revisions is a definite "Recommend."