Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
One of the best things about starting Go Teen Writers is talking to you guys about your writing projects, so I'm always thrilled when you e-mail me about what you're working on.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I'm pretty sure we've established this on here, but I like lists. You might say, I loooove lists.
On Saturday, I got together with some writer friends of mine for breakfast. We were all supposed to bring a list of our goals for 2011 and I ... well, didn't. I thought about making my list, and then ... you know, went to change a diaper or something.
Usually setting my goals is fun for me, but at the moment I'm in weird author's limbo. I'm waiting to see how my editor feels about the project I turned in, and then even if she likes it, we'll be waiting to see how the board feels. While this is a time I'm normally anxious to evaluate how I did and plan out while I hope to accomplish, it's been tougher this year.
But after Saturday's meeting, I once again grew excited about setting some goals. So now I'll pass on the opportunity to you guys. Especially since many of you are gung-ho about the Write Now curriculum we're doing next year where I'll spend the year detailing the steps to writing a novel. (Again, I'm sorry about having to use that curriculum word. It sounds like no fun, and it will be!)
A couple guidelines on making goals: (See, I even love lists that precede lists!)
1. Your goal should be something that pushes you, but isn't ridiculous.
2. It should be something that only YOU can do. It's dumb for me to say, "My goal for this year is to be on the New York Times Best Seller list." That's something I have very little influence over.
3. You should know what steps you plan to take to achieve it. Like if your goal is to learn how to write better characters, some good steps might be checking out books where the author did a good job with characterization, studying how to craft characters, etc.
Ralene, our leader, had us choose a daily, weekly, and monthly goal.
Normally my daily goal might be something like, "Write 1,000 words." But that's tough for me to predict these days. It's a goal that would only frustrate me. So I decided my daily goal would be to pray over my writing and to pray for my audience. It's something I used to do consistently and now I'm pretty spontaneous.
My weekly goal is to write 2,000 words if I'm in a writing place, or to edit 5 chapters if I'm in an editing place.
My monthly goal is to read two books, guest post on one additional blog, and e-mail other authors about what I enjoyed in their books. Which will be helped out by my plan to read two books a month. I can pick one of those authors, get on their web site, and send them an e-mail saying what I enjoyed. Authors never get tired of this, and it encourages them.
Then Ralene asked us to come up with goals we wanted to achieve by March, June, and December 31st, 2011.
Here's where I had to make mine fuzzier because of things being up in the air for me at the moment.
My March goal is to finish and polish my current project, and prepare a book proposal for either my new idea, or the sequel to my current project, depending on the feedback from my publisher.
My June goal is to finish the first draft of my new idea or the sequel to my current project. Again, just depends.
And by the end of the year, I hope to have polished the manuscript for my new idea (or the sequel) and to have a proposal ready for an idea yet to be determined.
It's okay if your goals get fuzzier. They're not etched in stone anywhere. Mine are scribbled on the back of my page-a-day The Office quote calendar. They can be changed, tweaked, rewritten. But having them serves a purpose. It means when I sit down at my desk, I don't have to think, "Okay ... what's the best way to spend this time?" I can look at my goals and know, "It's Thursday, and I've yet to write a word. Better get going on my weekly 2k."
What are some of your goals?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
- What do they hear?
- What do they smell?
- What do they taste?
- And what do they feel with their hands, and in their soul?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
One of the best things about being a writer is that you can classify great activities like travel, movie-viewing, and reading as research.
And so the hunt is on for a blue-blood who can stand the sight of her. Every man who lays eyes on Penelope takes flight at first sight, except for our wonderful hero, Max Campion (James McAvoy). And you’ll just have to watch to see how it all unfolds. I don't want to give stuff away.
As I viewed this movie, I was reminded of a couple things:
The need for a change to take place within the main character
What makes this movie, in my opinion, is the change that happens within Penelope as she comes to accept herself for who she is. Your main character has to change. Otherwise, there's no point. Like if the main character had been Penelope's mother (played by the fabulous Catherine O'Hara), the movie would've felt pointless, because she doesn't change. Not for real, anyway.
In a romance, the satisfaction of a heroine and hero who can do things on their own ... but are better together
We all need a little help sometimes, but it's important that your characters are also capable of standing on their own two feet. Penelope and Max sort out their lives apart from each other. You see how they could live independently just fine. But they also bring out the best in each other.
The satisfaction of REAL conflict
Not just one of those conflicts where if Penelope and Max would just talk to each other, they could work things out. There’s a moment where Max is going to be misinterpreted. I thought to myself, "Oh man, here it is. Here's where he should go explain himself to Penelope, but he's going to hang back." No. instead he RUNS TO PENELOPE TO EXPLAIN. Three cheers for whomever made that decision. And because he goes to her, the conflict is bigger and so much better.
The movie is 90 minutes long and completely worth your time.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I came across the idea of morning pages in a craft book I read recently and love it. In principle anyway. I've yet to try it out. Nor have I figured out where it would fit into my schedule, but it just seems like something that would work.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- Organizing your thoughts
- Making sure your idea is big enough
- How to make characters sound different from each other
- Creating an unusual setting
- Plot Layers
- Writing Resolutions
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I love when a character is silent and gets completely misunderstood. As in the example below:
“You seemed really excited about moving,” I say. “Since we got here, though, you kinda act like you’re dreading it.”
Mom sighs yet again. “Have you ever wanted something so badly, yet also, somehow equally, not wanted it?”
Palmer’s handsome face fills my mind, first the sparkle of his gray eyes, the mischievous curl of his mouth. And then I think of a few days ago in his car, of the weak guy—April’s boyfriend—who sat beside me.“Well, someday I’m sure you’ll experience it,” Mom says to my silence.
“You okay?” Palmer’s studying me. “Usually my Ms. Purdon impression kills.”
“Sorry. I’m distracted, I guess.”
“By my charm?” He winks.
I turn away, unwilling to flirt back. Before Rachel, it might have been different. “Do you know why Chase did what he did?”
He blinks at me, appearing thrown off by the subject change. “What?”
Rather than changing the subject, you can also just turn the tables. So instead of the above, it would read:
"By my charm?" He winks.
"You really think you're that irresistible?"
Gabby's still not answering the question, and now she's put Palmer in the hot seat.
Give these a try and see if they don't add complexity to your scenes. Dialogue often works best when people aren't saying what they really mean. Though the scenes where people are finally saying exactly what they mean work great too. More on that another time.
Have a writing question? E-mail me.
Monday, November 8, 2010
(continue on maybe a friend or little sister did something) or maybe something along those lines.
I hope that all makes sense.
I think a mystery could be good as long as it's realistic."
Thursday, November 4, 2010
- Name for our prince
- A country. Those proposed thus far are Britain, Italy, Spain, and Germany
- Title ideas
- First line of the story ideas
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- Gabrielle has some sort of supernatural gift, which is a nice idea because Gabby in real life is pretty ordinary. If you have thoughts on what her gift could be, please post them!
- Gabrielle is an angel detective and she helps people solve their problems. (Without them knowing they're receiving divine intervention, maybe?) And she ends up bonding with Rafe (angel or human? That was kind of up in the air) when they team up to fight some kind of battle.
- A comic book like story where the world is very black and white, good triumphs evil every time, and there's lots of action. Gabrielle's sidekick would be Raquel, and they swoop in to safe Rafe, who'd forget all about Raquel and fall for Gabrielle. (Sounds like a smart guy.) This suggestion came with the full package. The suggested title was: As it should be. The suggested final line was: "and all was returned as it should be," and the opening line was, "A familiar twinge prickled at my hand and made my fingers restless. It was go time." Very fun stuff.
- Gabby's book is written in diary form (think Princess Diaries, maybe?) She's changed the names of all her frenemies/family members/etc. but Gabrielle-the-heroine is going through many of the same circumstances as Gabby-the-person. Or, in that same vein, she's writing the life she wishes were hers and realizes in her writing that popularity isn't worth the price.
- Gabrielle is the chosen heiress to some fabulous kingdom. Rafe is her champion (which I like, because in her real life, the guy's too hardheaded to claim her in public), and three witches are trying to usurp her kingdom.
- For a historical novel, Gabby's writing what happens in her life, but in a different time period. I like this idea combined with a couple of others we've had. Maybe set it in medieval times, and Gabby could be writing her own personal fairy tale. She could either be the Princess, like was suggested up above, or she could be a peasant girl with a thing for the prince, and Rafe is her best friend with a massive crush on her. And then at the end she would learn she's of noble blood.
Monday, November 1, 2010
- The title
- The premise
- A fabulous opening line
- It can be any genre (mystery, speculative, historical) but it also has to be a YA book. I think a mystery would be really fun, but I stink at writing mysteries, so I'll have to really rely on you guys if that's what we choose.
- The main character is a girl named Gabrielle, and she has a group of antagonists in Raquel, January, and River.
- Gabrielle's got a fella. His name is open to discussion. As are all the other characters and their names.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This month, I committed to writing 50,000 words. Kind of my own personal NaNo, since NaNo takes place in November and that so doesn't work for me.