Romance writing

NaNoWriMo running total update

It’s been a slow May with my NaNoWriMo count only being 33,590/50,000. When I don’t have a set in stone deadline the desire to keep going just isn’t there. 

I am close though, and my goal is to have it finished for June 1 to enter the Harlequin Blaze contest. I have to enter my first chapter and a synopsis. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend?  🙂 

My characters have fought, made up, did some soul searching, fought again and now I am at the point where something is going to happen to their relationship that they might not recover from. Oh, the things we do to our characters!

romance, writing

April NaNoWriMo update #2

Well, I’m way overdue for an update on my April NaNoWriMo word count!  As I started on April 2 today is my day 30 and my goal which changed around day 15 is now 30,000.

So my total word count today is: 27,584/30,000. I am hoping to reach my goal by Friday and then I will use the rest of May to get to my grand total of 50,000.

I’m still loving my writing space. I turn my heater on and cozy up with a cup of coffee and away I go. It has been so much fun to challenge myself and doing the pre-planning the week before helped me stay on task. Some things have changed, the characters did and said things I never imagined they’d do and voila! I’m quite happy with the way things have progressed.

I will definitely do this again. If not in November then next April. Anyone else interested? 🙂

writing

How Time Passes

I’m looking back on my posts and realizing I haven’t written in almost two months. It’s quite amazing how quickly times passes when life is full of work, kids, housework, grocery shopping, trying to stay in shape and extra-curricular outings. Trying to find time to write has been almost impossible. Even etching out 15 minutes has been a chore. I want to write… it’s on my mind all the time, yet I find myself asking the question, “Do I procrastinate?” Sure I do… but I also acknowledge that sometimes a busy family life needs to take precedence over self-indulgence.

When time passes so quickly the day is over in a blink of an eye, when do I write? My mind refuses to think the closer to midnight it gets and 6 o’clock comes early – a night owl, I am not. Mornings are chaotic, evenings are full of driving the kids to their activities or just finding enough energy to make supper. By the time I get a minute to myself, the last thing I want to do is dig out my characters lives and try to solve their problems.

A friend of mine is blocking days of the week on her calendar to write. I think I might give that a try as well. Perhaps not actual days, but hours on certain days. It’s a start… or another beginning… I’ve tried to solve this problem before, but life is always throwing something different my way and each new adventure calls for a different approach.

romance, romance writers of america, Romance writing, surrey writers conference, writing

Emerald City Writers Conference

It has been quite a busy summer, but now it’s time to start thinking about fall writing conferences. My choices are the Surrey Writers Conference or the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle. I’ve been to Surrey for the past two years and I loved every minute of it. The excitement that buzzed in the air was contagious and just being with people who shared the same passion was satisfying.

But this year, I’ve decided to check out the Emerald City Writers Conference in Bellevue, Washington from October 28-30. New workshops, new editors and agents, but mostly new exposure and a chance to make new friends and contacts.

Well, whichever one I decide to go with it’ll be a weekend that will ignite the spark I need to keep writing and I can’t wait.

So go online and check both of these amazing writing conferences out and let me know what you think.

plot, writing

Plot

Wikipedia defines Plot as “a literary term for the events a story comprises, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, a sequence, through cause and effect, or by coincidence.”

When I try to wrap my mind around that definition I get frustrated. To me plot is a story line full of events that unfold as the characters learn and change and grow. When I look at it that way I can sit down and plan where my story is going, what I want to happen to my characters and visualize the beginning, middle and end of my manuscript.

During my current rewrite I realized my middle was stuck as my beginning had changed so much and my ending still reflected my old beginning leaving me high and dry in the middle. So, I’ve been coming up with different scenarios of what could work for my characters, and let me tell you, it’s quite a process. I find myself going backwards to make sure something I said earlier is true now and vice versa. Consistency is important as well credibility. Readers are very smart and they’ll know if something doesn’t match up.

I advise the use of a chart or detailed synopsis of every chapter and where you want to take the story before you start to write. I didn’t do that with this manuscript. I jumped right in and wrote what was in me. It was a wonderful experience doing it that way but then your left with inconsistencies and unbelievable characters, events and settings.

I fully believe that writing is a never-ending learning process.

writing

Internal & External Conflict

Now that I’m at a critical point in my revision process where I’m about to join the two parts of my manuscript (the revised with the second half), I’m having questions and doubts popping into my head. Which brings me to the title of this post – internal and external conflict. Do my hero and heroine have both?

Does my heroine have a fear or a problem that only she can solve, something that is affecting the way she behaves? Does she have something outside herself – in the world around her – that is causing her grief?

And will she grow and change from these experiences and the process involved in solving both her internal and external conflict.

Now sometimes these conflicts can’t be solved as they are out of the characters control, but they can be accepted which is part of the characters personal growth.

And it’s important that the characters share the same external conflict. It gives them something to solve together and brings them closer.

I did a quick note taking and I think I’m safe… for now. 😉

editing, romance, Romance writing, writing

On A Roll…

Now that things have slowed down around here I have been able to find time to write and get my revisions done. Having a deadline is quite helpful and keeps me on my toes. Of course, the more I fix the more elaborate my scenes are becoming – which is a good thing I suppose – but it seems to keep the midway point just out of reach. That point where I can just take out a word here or a sentence there, and then give it an overall polish before sending it off to agents.

I must say I am getting quite excited as the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter.

Next, I have to do a synopsis. I’ll save that for another day… 🙂

surrey writers conference

The Afterglow of SiWC

What an amazing weekend!!! It went by so quickly it’s hard to believe I’m at home again. My mind feels like it’s going to explode with all the information I absorbed over the last three days.

From the morning keynotes to wonderful lunches where you got to chat with friends and most importantly make new friends, as well as, networking with all the wonderful agents, editors and authors that surrounded us at every turn.

From Jack Whyte, Diana Gabaldon, and Anne Perry to Robert Dugoni, Ivan Coyote and Julia Quinn (oh, but to name a few) – it was a star-studded event.

Agents from New York, San Francisco and across Canada – it was an authors dream come true.

The workshops were great and loaded with invaluable information to take home and add to our writer’s toolbox.

On Saturday they put on a Mystery Guest lunch were they placed an author, editor or agent at each table and we could pick their brains, ask advice or chat about anything and everything we wanted – of course writing is always on the brain at this conference!

I had the pleasure to sit with agent Laurie McLean from Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco. She was such a warm, friendly and wonderful person, her excitement about being there and talking about the thing she loves – writing – was contagious.

I got the chance to speak with Nephele Tempest from The Knight Agency in New York and Valerie Gray from Harlequin.

A real special treat was getting the books I had purchased signed by the authors who wrote them.

We were also invited to the Romance Writers of America cocktail party on Saturday night and I met a couple of wonderful girls there who I really enjoyed talking with.

Sunday came along way too fast. The morning keynote was Author Slade and he talked about treadmill desks!! What a picture he painted for us but his message was clear. We as writers need to get off our butts from time to time and exercise-take care of ourselves and be healthy.

After two more workshops we had our final lunch and then our afternoon keynote was Robert Dugoni. His Aragon speech from LOTR Return of the King as they stand in front of the Gate of Mordor – will forever be changed for me as he interpreted it for a writers destiny. “And we WRITE!” I had goosebumps!

He inspired me, as I’m sure he did for everyone there, and when I left that banquet hall I wanted to turn right back around and go back inside so my time there could never end.

I’m already making plans for SiWC 2011!!!!

surrey writers conference, writing

Countdown to SiWC

It’s getting close! Eleven more days until the Surrey International Writers Conference gets underway. I’m very excited. My pitch is ready to go and my chapter revisions are coming together nicely.

There is a lot to do to prepare for such an event. Manuscripts to polish and print off, research on the editor/agent you plan to see, questions written down for the blue pencil. A list of things to bring such as a tape recorder, batteries, lots of pens and paper, business cards if you have any, your pitch… oh the list can go on and on but I’ll stop there.

Right now I would describe myself as excitedly nervous. Does that make sense?

I still have a lot to do to get ready so I’ll end this blog here for now and let you know how my preparations are going. 🙂