Archive for the ‘Writing Life’ Category
With recent happenings, blow-ups and internet debacles I’ve been thinking about this subject for awhile.
And I may have mentioned recently how I friend says that I bite my tongue online especially when I’m in writing/author mode. So the question is how do you balance things? What’s the give and take between speaking your mind, voicing your opinion and keeping quiet?
I know that people can, and should, be thoughtful and respectful when discussing varying points of view. But what stops me sometimes, most times, besides not wanting to give in to the drama, is asking myself is it worth it? And, maybe I think too much about projecting a “professional” image. Plus with me writing under two separate pen names, building a web presence for two persona’s it’s a bit more difficult.
But there have been times I’ve spoken up, to make my point known and was engaged in a thoughtful, provocative conversation. And I have let lose with the occasional rant. There have been times when I’ve seen internet dust-ups and have completely ignored them because they aren’t worth it. But I tend not to poke a stick at someone or something just to get a rise or start a flame war.
So yes, there are some hot button topics I avoid. And no, I won’t be naming what they are. When I write up a blog post I think of myself as an author, my brand and the image I want to project. I have come out so to speak on the blog about some personal issues. I don’t regret doing that.
So maybe it’s a matter of what the issue is and what is important to you as a person, as an author. For me, it all boils down to – Is it worth it?
When trying to write a story centered around two characters (regardless of their sexual orientation) who will most definitely having sex (and probably often). It is important that there is chemistry between them. Because if there is no chemistry, it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
And I’ve read stories where the characters seem almost forced together. There is no chemistry or only a basic lust but nothing underlying or even just a friendship vibe. And those stories read like the author had an idea and forced the story and characters to fit, regardless of how it may have read or what would have been better. And, as authors, writers, it’s our stories/books/characters and we can do with them what we want. And after reading one of those books, it made me wonder do authors/writers consider character chemistry when writing. Because, for me, as a reader, if I notice something is off, or don’t feel the sparks between the characters be it in an erotic romance, traditional romance, sweet romance or other type of book then I will put down the book.
Now with Take Me As I Am the characters started off differently. Jay came to me fully formed and with his own story ideas. I had originally planned on the story being a M/F erotic love story. But Jay let me know in no uncertain terms that it was gonna be a M/M story. And at first I was scared, I never wrote M/M before and wanted to make sure I did the story and characters justice.
In Second Chances, it was easy. Sebastian and Elaina came to me as a couple and wanted their story told. Their chemistry was instantaneous and off the charts.
Now here’s the reason for this post today. I’ve been working on the second story in the Ramos Brothers Series. I have the stories plotted out and was working on Alvarez’s story but there is resistance. To the other lead character and to the storyline. I was trying to avoid another reunited lovers type story but I’m going to have to listen to the characters in this one again because the chemistry between the hero and heroine is more like brother and sisters or cousins instead of lovers of longtime loves.
I guess all this proves that no matter how we, as writers, try to plot sometimes the pantser in us comes out. And sometimes, the characters know more and we have to do a bit more planning. I don’t mind reworking a story. And I can always use the other character for another story.
This post was inspired by the story struggles described above and Kati Talks Personal Chemistry.
This week I plan to -
- Write at least 50 pages
- Blog every day
- Work on a new free read for the website
- Plot out the remaining Ramos Brothers Stories (Remaining 3 stories, 1st story contracted to Cobblestone Press)
- Polish Love Against the Rules (M/M UF)
I’ll update on Saturday on how far I’ve gotten with this weeks goals.
cross posted from my livejournal
Well MayNoWriMo was not as successful as I hoped. I did get some pages in. But I had to stop and do a lot of plotting, outlining and worldbuilding.
So I made progress, in a way, just not word count progress.
I think that’s one of the hazards from starting MayNoWriMo so late. DTAL is an urban fantasy story. I got some good pages in and started in the write place. But it requires a lot of worldbuilding (most will not or may not make it in the pages) but it’s essential for a successful story.
I don’t feel like I let my team (Yay Team Post-It Note) or myself down though. As my former RD mentor grace_draven has told me it’s quality not quantity that matters. If I make progress and it helps me with my writing process (I am working on learning and embracing my progress. And trying to plot more too). So MayNoWriMo was great because it helped me learn and grow as a writer. And isn’t that one of the goals of authors?
I have a full time day job. I would love to write full time but until I can make enough money off my writing, if not more, to supplement the income from the day job I’m stuck working and writing.
I’ve had authors tell me they envy me or admire me or wonder how I do it. I envy them – to be able to write full time and not worry (much) about how the bills will get paid, how you’re going to put gas in the car (with ever rising gas prices) and how you’re going to make the paycheck stretch to buy groceries, etc. But that’s a topic for another day.
I work 8 hours a day Monday through Friday so that’s 9 hours out of my day (counting the commute to and from work). Add in 6 hours of sleep a day and that brings the total to 14 hours that I’m not actively writing. And this isn’t counting mandatory overtime.
Wanna know what my schedule looks like (at least for now – it’s subject to change very soon):
Wake up: 8:30a
Putz around (read email, visit websites, get going for the day): 8:30a – 9:15a
Start making lunch for work (if cooking):9:15a – 9:45a
Writing: 10:00a to 2:00p (with breaks to check on food, let dog out)
Get ready for work: 2:15p – 3:00p (leave for work by 3:15p)
Work: 3:45p to 12a
Home & unwind: 12:30a-1:00a
Write: 1:00a to 3:00a
Now with OT everything shifts 2 or 4 hours for the job. Which is good in a way, less time to putz around, less sleep (trade off cause I could be more cranky, irritable and tired with lack of sleep). And it means I don’t necessarily write at night but begin lunch (at least planning) and start cooking when I get up.
If I have to take HGC 1 to school, it means no writing at night cause up at 6 write til 6:30 and then go pick HGC 1 up and drop off at school home by 8, write from 8 to 12:30, power nap 12:30 to 1:30, write 1:30 to 2:30, prep for work 2:30 to 3:15.
Of course I sneak in writing bits while at work, and on my 15 minute breaks and 30 minute lunch (in a notebook) s0 that means transferring the hand written stuff either early morning when get home or on the weekend.
I guess I said all that to say that it can be done, writing with a day job. And I’m not going to mention all the family obligations and responsibilities. But it may just take a little while longer to complete and polish a WIP.
P.S. – this will probably be a 2 part point
I have two distinctive sets of friends - Writer and Non-Writers.
The writer friends are either published (NY, Print or Epubbed), seeking publication, editors or reviewers. Now my non-writer friends most don’t know I write and if they do they don’t know my pen name or what I write. So they don’t necessarily understand when I say I can’t or won’t go to the newest club or some party because I have things to do, other plans or have to write.
I could explain the reasons why, why it’s so important to me, why I keep doing it though it seems like I’m getting nowhere, why I love it even though I get frustrated, why I’ve tried to quit and keep going back. But it seems like more hassle than it’s worth sometimes. They don’t and may never get it.
The ones who know I write and know about my last release think I should be sitting on stacks and treating them to lunch, dinner, shopping or whatever.
I tried explaining the publishing industry and that it’s very competitive and slow but that just brings out the bored blank stare. And as a recent topic on RD said, sometimes having to explain news – however insignificant – takes some of the shine off of it.
So I don’t talk about my writing with them. That’s what my writer friends are for.
They understand the joy, love and frustrations of writing. I can vent about characters or plot or the words not flowing and they get it. They understand getting a request for a partial or a full from an editor or an agent. They undersand (though may be frustrated and what to share/celebrate with you) when you have good news, great news but don’t want to say to much cause you don’t want to jump the gun or jinx anything (Hint Hint). And writer’s (some of us) can be a bit superstitious.
Which is wonderful to have someone who knows, has been there and understands. They also hold me accountable and make sure I write. They understand the hard work, sweat and even tears but also celebrate word counts, requests and sales. Offer hugs and cyber chocolate on rejections and not so good reviews.
But I still need non-writer friends because one they do get me to take a break and clear my head – even if they don’t realize it.
Jennifer Crusie has been quoted as saying:
Don’t look down.
Which essentially means to just write the story and don’t over edit yourself when you’re writing the first draft. It can be taken as a variation of BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard (for the non-writers reading this).
Nora Roberts has been quoted as saying:
You can’t edit a blank page.
These quotes may be two of the more famous writing quotes. And are often used for inspiration and motivation.
Recently on RD Bria started the accountability corner. My writing time goal this week is 4 hours a day. And I am happy to say that I’ve met my goals so far this week. I don’t know if it’s the accountability aspect or what but I’m not going to question it to hard. And it has been 4 straight hours of writing. Monday I did 2 hours and 2 hours. Tuesday it was more in chunks – 1 hr, 2 hrs, 30 minutes, 30 minutes. The accountability corner for me is like Sweatin with Sven, Fast Draft and BIAW/BIAM (Book in a Week/Month) or Nano.
It helps me to shut down the internal editor and doubt demons and just focus on the words and write. Sometimes more successfully meeting my page count than others but the key for me is to write. Even if it’s in little blocks of time – 15, 20 or 30 minutes here and there – at least I’m writing.
Since I’ve began writing seriously, taking my writing seriously, I’ve learned a few things about making time and being productive. I try to write despite pain, mood or fear in my attempt to be a more dedicated and professional writer. Yes it’s difficult to write when I have a migraine (and I’ll admit not a lot gets done and some of it is pure crap). But I think it’s about discipline.
I’ve written at the doctor’s office, in the car (not while driving), on breaks and lunch at the day job. I write around my daily life – helping/taking care of mom, family drama, the day job, my own health concerns and a social life (even though it’s/I’m not as active now as I once was). I carry a tape recorder with me so when I don’t have pen and paper or my alphasmart then I can still “write”.
There are sacrifices I make such as not going out as much, not reading as much (though I do read for reviewing purposes and crafting but not so much for pure personal pleasure), TIVOing instead of watching live – just to name a few.
I won’t get into the doubts that creep in because that’s a topic for another blog post.
So I’ll leave you with a question – for writers and non-writers too – how do you make time to write? Or make time for your career/goals/dreams or whatever is a priority to you around the realities of life? And if you write around a day job or family I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on balancing it all (sounds like another great blog topic)?
2. Muttering strange words and phrases about things normal people shouldn’t think about. Hmm… I wonder how long this poison would take to act. Or such things as… how many ways are there to kill a vampire? is it possible for a human to have sex with a shapeshifter? if your best friend/boyfriend turned out to be a demon what would your reaction be?
3. Asking strange questions out of the blue about width, girth, length and position
4. Staring at the computer screen and arguing with my characters.
5. Yelling about my characters because they want to go one way and I want to go another.
6. Completely changing the subject or blurting things out of the blue that has nothing to do with the conversation or topic at hand
7. Laughing out loud to no one and nothing in particular
8. Yelling, that’s it, she/he should…..
9. Carrying around a notebook and writing and walking at the the same time while shopping or doing something else to get the idea down or the scene that was bothering me, not working down so I won’t forget it.
10. Talking to myself (not necessarily writer related)
11. Asking strange questions like – if someone were stalking you, why would they stalk you and how would you handle it?
12. Asking even stranger questions like – do you think that if three people were involved in a menage a trois that this position would work?
13. Do you think this position is humanly possible without spraining anything?
14. Me saying… I heard such and such a store has some new toys in. Wanna go with me to/Let’s go check them out…
15. Did I mention talking to myself? I think that one bares repeating.
I’ve been thinking a lot about genre’s and why I started writing, want to write, what’s my motivation and other such topics.
Lately I’ve been struggling with my writing. Don’t get me wrong. I love to write. I’ve tried giving up (okay so it’s really quitting) but I just can’t. It’s apart of me, in my blood, part of my soul. I’ve even been thinking of leaving RD.
And I have gotten some very good word counts lately. Yet it still seems like I’m spinning my wheels getting nowhere. I have 3 half finished novellas – well they’re in pieces – parts of a whole. I have 2 full lengths in various stages. 2 Short Stories and 2 completed novellas. And a turn of ideas running around in my head. I know about lifetus interruptus. I try to write around life, pain and the day job.
Maybe I’m too hard on myself. Maybe I need to forgive myself for not being prolific as some other writers. I know I can write. I’ve been told I have talent.
So the question is what’s holding me back? Besides myself? Timing? Motivation? Luck?
Maybe it’s lack of focus – this blog topic was supposed to be about something else entirely. But sometimes, like in writing, you just have to go with the flow.