Tag Archives: writing

90 Days Week 5

By week 5 of this book, I expected to be writing. 90 days is approximately 3 months. There are four weeks in each month. Thus by the end of week five, over a third of the novel writing time is gone.  I’m nervous.

Captured from recruitmentbuzz.co.uk. Click the image for link back to the original website.

It seems like there is a running clock, and I’m not actively trying to meet the deadline.

To be fair, Ms. Domet is not asking me to sit around doing nothing. She has me writing every day for a few hours. I am writing scenes. The scenes are out of order, and I can’t check them for continuity or consistency, but there are scenes being written.

To be determined later: will the actual writing be less than 30 days and thus a guide to winning Nano? Only time will tell.

As a random tidbit, this morning I was working on the second assignment of week 2 and wrote: His ability to lie had the refinement of forty grit sandpaper, and when he did lie, it felt like he used that sandpaper instead on a washcloth to bathe.

I may have been feeling slightly dramatic at the time. 🙂

Fantasy or Real Life

Here is my dilemma. Should I be writing young adult fantasy?

Before answering yes or no, this is not just a question about what works best for a story, my vision, or altering my writing to fill a niche.

I was raised on fantasy books. I think many children in my generation read the classic fantasy books. If not The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, they possibly read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I had to read both as school assignments.

So now that I am writing, fantasy has a homey feel. It’s the windows open, the ceiling fan humming, baked potatoes in the oven, and the dog sunbathing. Fantasy is my comfort food.

As a comfort food, I pick fantasy books up first. When in Barnes and Noble, I drift to the fantasy section first. Fantasy book covers catch my attention and leave me wondering. Magical realms let me escape.

I’ve recently joined a few query contests. In these contests, aspiring writers like myself pitch our manuscripts. I have diligently read each query posted by the other contestants, and I have come to a few conclusions.

One, I need to learn how to tighten my query. I’ll learn. Just give me time and guidance. Two, lots of people write young adult and/or fantasy books.  Three, agents seem to be looking for middle grade or adult books.

Taken from Elsa Mora’s blog. Click the image to link to the blog.

Now, I have two works in progress.  My critique circles are working through the story of Nik the alchemist/drug dealer/prostitute on the run from a bounty set by his brother. For the book 90 Days to your Novel, I am drafting a story about Joe who finds a bag jewels in a wreck from a flying car.

Here is my dilemma: Neither book is a true fantasy. By that I mean, the magic system does not play a crucial role in the plot.

Joe could easily find the jewels in a car abandoned on the road side and be obsessed with NASCAR instead of Sky Races. Nik’s brother could hate him for being his father’s favorite and good at chemistry instead of a genius at alchemy.

While I call my stories fantasy, generally they are closer to magical realism in that the magic is germaine to the community and not a plot issue. Because the changes are minor and I am still in the drafting phase, should I give up the fantasy element because it is me choosing meatloaf instead of trying the sushi, or do I stick with what I know?

90 Days and counting

Day 21, done. I’m working my ways through 90 Days To Your Novel by Sarah Domet. The first 21 days is all about outlining. As a believer in outlining, I loved the built in outlining time.

IMG_0102[1]Day 22 is the start of the novel draft. I’m bouncing up and down in excitement to start. (Literally, here is a picture of the exercise ball I am now sitting on  while I write.)

In honor of the drafting, I am giving you the 250ish word synopsis/summary of the story I am working on. Here it is:

Joe is nobody with empiric dreams. But that changes when he finds a bag of jewels. Like a thief in daylight, Joe pockets the prize. His dreams are only a sale away.

The local auction house tells him selling stolen goods is illegal and will get him arrested.

Dive bars are the movie solution. Instead of a sale, he is trampled by a pig. The nurse listens to his pain-killer induced story and offers to help him.

He meets the nurses’ connection, a pawn broker, who wants a new thug not a jewel sale. The nurse arranges a second buyer.

Joe meets her outside the La Fata mansion. The mob head finds Joe suspicious, and the nurse’s mother wants him as a son-in-law. Joe could live without a cloud with a La Fata-lining.

Joe peddles home to find his house trashed. At work, the nurse calls with the zeal of charity solicitor at Christmas. His co-worker suspects he connected to the mob. Between the mob and a pushy nurse, Joe agrees to a date.

The nurse takes him on a race-fan dream. The pawn broker finds Joe and agrees to the jewel sale if Joe will stay away from the nurse.

By the glow of the pawn shop lights, Joe meets the pawn broker who heard Joe was engaged to the nurse. He takes Joe’s jewels and leaves him beaten on the street.

Beaten and without jewels, Joe must figure out what he truly wants in life.

The Sly Brilliance of 90 Days

I am working through a writing craft book called 90 Days to Your Novel.

Being the diligent student, I began at the beginning. Each time the author gives an assignment, I do it. No cheating.

From Clipart Guide: Images by Pamela Perry

At first, the assignments were too basic, but I did them anyway. Then I decided to apply an existing story line to the assignments. Suddenly, even the super basic instruction have become brilliant. Because I already have a plan I am working toward, each exercise is pre-writing part of my novel.

Day 9 was all about picking 1st or 3rd person to write in. Again, the assignment was to choose a scene and write it in both 1st and 3rd person and choose which fit the story better. I switch pretty regularly between the two styles. I chose 3rd this time because I am hoping to add some comedy to this manuscript. Not being a funny person, I may fail horribly, but I’d like to try just once.

Day 10 wants me to flesh out the main characters. It involves free writing about the main characters to learn more than just a character sheet about their personality, physical description, and motives. Then, the second part of the assignment is to write a scene introducing the main character. Sound like an opening scene to anyone else?

By the time this book tells me to write my first chapter, I will have a snippet from almost every scene in the book. Very sly Ms. Domet. I’m on to your tricks. 😉

Like a Virgin

Like a Virgin is a query competition.  I submitted at the start of April.

For the official site, click the image below.

Starting April 18, Like  a Virgin is hosting a blog hop that accompanies the competition, and the theme is firsts.

1. How do you remember your first kiss?
2. What was your first favorite love song?
3. What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?
4. Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
5. Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?
6. For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?
7. What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?

1. My first kiss? Well, I don’t remember. I guess you could say I came from a kissing family. Kisses just happened. I remember kissing my little neighbor boy before first grade. I didn’t kiss the neighbor I proposed to naked. I kissed my first boyfriend, but I can’t remember anything special about it. In essence, the first kiss was unremarkable.

2. My first favorite love song was an oldies song. I remember marching around the backyard and singing Sunrise Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof back in middle school. I associate it as a love song because I first heard it when a mother sang it at her son’s wedding. My husband and my song is Amazed by Lone Star. So in the realm of important love songs, that one tops the list.

3. When I start writing for the day, I start by re-reading the last thing I wrote from the day before. I think it helps keep the tone of my piece more consistent, and it jogs my memory if I had an idea before I stopped writing.

4. The first writer that truly inspired me was Diana Wayne Jones. I always wrote as a child. I won my first school competition in 1st grade. In third grade, I discovered Diane Wayne Jones and read every book I could find. By fourth grade, I cobbled together my “first” “novel.” I think it was only 100 pages on word perfect, and I’m fairly sure it had no plot. Either way, it was a done deal. I kept writing.

5. The final revision of my current piece (which is the only piece I’ve ever liked enough to revise) has a completely new first chapter. The old chapter one is now chapter two. I have a tendency to write too little versus writing too much.

6. When I started writing this book, I pulled my characters, plot and setting from a list of ideas I keep. The plot started as the same plot I used in a previous attempt. I started writing it, but the feedback was that the piece lacked setting and the character was too immature. So I kept the same plot but pulled a different setting and character from the idea list. The plan centered around using a modern or more realistic setting and working on building small world elements rather than creating a world from scratch. My main character Tiny began after a long day on my feet. I took a hot bath and gave a quick prayer that I wasn’t a troll or a giant because my feet hurt bad enough as it was. So I wrote down a troll with sore feet in my idea list. I pulled her out again for this novel.

7. I don’t know what word I would like to have roll off a person’s tongue when they read Tiny’s story. I know the words I don’t want to roll off their tongue, (horrible, too sparse, remedial, poor setting) but I’d accept the faintest praise.

I’ll be hunting down other Like A Virgin competitors. Here is the Blog Hop list (I hope):

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For my blog readers, let me know your answers.