Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hi all!

Just a quick post to say "╠╣αppy Ѽ ╠╣αlloween" to all of you!  Hope you had a sweet and spooky Halloween, whether you guarded the candy bowl or walked door-to-door for two hours with a dinosaur and a ballerina!  

We technically aren't allowed to celebrate any holiday at my work, so I sneakily dressed up as a spider with my clothing.  Everyone thought it was creative! :)

A perfect evening :)

Dinosaur, spider, and ballerina

My pumpkin and awesome spider costume
Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Good luck to everyone starting NaNoWriMo tomorrow!  I've already started, but I've got a long way to go.  My username is:  kristam - I could always use more buddies for inspiration and cheering on! :)

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

 So, I'm in.

Even though I'm quite a bit busy with work, family, and my upcoming vacation at the end of November, I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year.  I didn't last year because Chris died on November 7th.  Since I knew he was sick, I decided against doing NaNo.  November was very difficult for me.  The year before, I didn't do it because I did Camp NaNo in July and I had finished another book in May.

But I decided to try this year.  NaNoWriMo was what taught me to sit down and take the time to write.  Leave the editing for later.

I will be "cheating" a little bit by starting before November 1st.  I'm going on a cruise with my family, leaving for Miami on November 22nd at 6 am.  I don't get back until December 1st.  I won't be bringing my computer or really be able to write during that time.  It's my goal to write a 50,000 word novel by November 21st.  Yikes.

No pressure? 

My NaNo Novel
YA Urban Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Kaela was born with wings; wings she has never flown with. It's forbidden. Kaela was born in captivity, surrounded by white walls and given a number instead of a name. The only part of her past she knows is bound to her. She befriends another girl in the center and when Amie is killed, Kaela can take no more. With the help of the mysterious boy, Trent, Kaela escapes and begins to discover the lies of the center have kept her from the truth of her past and will change the course of her future.

That's just a rough idea.  Really, I'm a pant-ser.  I'm not sure where this is going, but I'm willing to try.

Here's my page if you want to add me as a writing buddy:  kristam

Are you doing NaNoWriMo 2012?  Are you a pant-ser or a plotter?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yesterday I hated my novel

Yes, that is a ridiculous title.

But it's true.  I feel like I'm peer pressuring my book.  I want it to be amazing and to be captivating.  It's written in memory of a man who was like a second dad to me.  I wouldn't want it to disappoint him. I've put so much pressure on my book that I got to a point of hating it.  Yep, not strongly disliking.  I actually hated my book for six hours yesterday. 

I wanted to print it out, scribble all over it in red ink (to mark everything wrong with it), rip it up, and burn the pieces.  Seriously, it was that bad.  I wanted to "book burn" it.  Yikes.

But, my critique partner is AMAZING!!  She emailed me about two weeks ago, having finished reading and had given me some suggestions because my plot had holes and the problem wasn't strong enough for the plot.  I was lame and sat on them, completely discouraged.  I decided yesterday to ask for even more suggestions.  I needed advice on how to fix my book.  I felt like a mother who thought her baby was ugly.  And my baby was incredibly ugly.  Krista gave me some wonderful advice!  I'm soaking it up and totally fixing this baby!!  I also got some helpful advice from my best friend.  The good news:  I no longer hate my book.

I have decided that "Nameless" and "Unless" will become one book.  Without the two together, there are many plot problems and "Nameless" has no resolution, because it keeps going in the second part.  In addition to that, for an epic fantasy - the two are too short to be books by themselves.  The first part will be in Edom's POV and be mostly his journey.  The second part will be from Dalia's POV and is her continuing the story.  I'm very happy with this decision.  Now, I have to decide if I will be keeping the title of one of them or choose a completely different title. 

I am very happy with my decision!  My baby isn't ugly anymore. :) 

What do you think?  Do you think it's a good idea to combine the two, knowing that both parts will be in a different character POV?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Importance of Sticking to Your POV

From deep in the trenches of my editing cave, I am peaking my head out.  I have been over my head in revisions for "Nameless" and sorta trying to figure out what to do with the companion novel I'm still writing.  My CP finished critiquing "Nameless" and she pointed out that I'm missing a few things.  A clear resolution, a plot which ends in this novel not just continues in the second, a goal for my protagonist which is clearer.  Yeah.  I have a ways to go.  Most of my revising has consisted of this:

Yep.  Not really getting much done.  But my CP did point out (at least twenty times) when I made a boo-boo with my point-of-view.  I didn't think much about it.  When you write in third person you can use any person right?  Umm... no.

Super quick overview of Point-Of-View (POV):

First person - I, me
Second person - you
Third person - She/he

Example of what you cannot do:

The minds of the young children were swirling with the thoughts of such a delicious feast. They continued to ask her questions until Dalia seemed uninterested.  Edom guessed she was homesick. 

Unless Edom can read their minds – this is a POV shift – more omniscient then limited in the first sentence.  Then it almost feels like Dalia's POV in the second and finally to Edom.  The majority of the novel is from his POV, except when I make big mistakes like that.  Oops. 

Last night, I was reading a book and I became super confused.  The book is written in third-person from the POV of Julia.  All of a sudden, the new chapter started out referring to "he" and the readers gets his actions only and his thoughts.  It took two pages to figure out which male the "he" was referring to.  No mention of Julia until halfway through the chapter when it awkwardly transitions back to Julia's POV.  Umm.... yeah, that didn't work out.

Ways to Prevent Misuse of Point-Of-View

1.  Pick your point-of-view and stick with it
Yes, you are free to change your point-of-view in the revision process, but it has to be consistent throughout the story.  If the story is written in third-person from a certain character, keep it the same throughout.

2.  If you want to use the POV from different characters, make sure it is clearly marked.
Many authors will write each chapter from the voice of a different character, switching back and forth.  Jodi Picoult writes each chapter in such a fashion.  It's a doable technique.  I personally cannot read Jodi Picoult because that POV switching annoys me and I can't read it.  But it can be done.

3.  Remember, you can never be the head of two characters at the same time (exception: omniscient POV)
Edom thinks Dalia is cute.  Dalia thinks Edom is annoying.  It cannot be the same point-of-view.  Edom can guess Dalia's emotions by her behaviors, but he cannot be inside her head.  This isn't Twilight and most people can't read minds.

4.  Find the POV you are most comfortable writing in
Personally, I've written in third person and first person.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but both can be strong writing if they are well-written.  If you write in second person, more power to you.  I can't do that.

What are other ways to prevent misuse of point-of-view?  Have you discovered any books where there is POV switching and it is confusing?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stained - A Review

I'll admit it.  This book came up as a suggestion on Amazon and I liked the cover.  Yep, I judged a book by its cover.  And I think I picked a great read!

Title: Stained (Book 1)
Author: Ella James
Publisher:  Barkley's Books
Publication Date: September 14, 2011

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Plot: First, here is the summary of "Stained" from Amazon - After a fire destroys seventeen-year-old Julia's home and kills her foster parents, she chases the half-demon responsible across the country and back, determined to avenge her family and discover why a host of celestial baddies want her dead. With Julia is enigmatic hottie Cayne, who has his own score to settle with the half-demon, and who might be just as dangerous as the creature he and Julia hunt.

Julia's family is dead; burned alive by a monster.  She's on the run and finds herself hiding in an abandoned warehouse.  Things are... okay, until a strange boy drops in the ceiling and changes her life even more.  Cayne is a mysterious young man, searching for something stolen from him by a half-demon named Samzaya.  He's determined to kill Julia and all like her.  All Julia knows is that she is part of the "Stained".  It's a thrilling book!  

Romantic Element: The relationship between Julia and Cayne is intense.  There's a forbidden nature about it, though the reader doesn't understand why at first.  The reader doesn't know a lot about the two and their secrets, but as the story progresses it changes and they realize how dangerous their affection for each other can be.  Julia doesn't care.  She's completely smitten by Cayne and who wouldn't be?  He's incredibly attractive and he fights half-demons.  Did I mention he is shirtless a few times in the book?  Their relationship definitely grows and changes throughout the story and it makes sense for their circumstances.

Overall:  The story did have a few little things which bothered me.  Julia and Cayne have a conversation which gave me flashbacks to "Twilight", which annoyed me some since I hate Twilight.  There was also a multiple chapter vision which seemed to have no purpose, but I assume it makes more sense in the second book.  The point of view was a little hard to get into at times and there are two chapters where it suddenly switches to a new character for the chapter.  That didn't fit with the third person limited point-of-view from Julia.  It almost pushed the reader back from the action and it was confusing.  As a minor detail, at the end of the book were three chapters from the author's other series.  Since it didn't deal with "Stained", it was not really necessary. 

Overall, it's an entertaining story with action, romance, and pure mystery.  The ending is a cliff-hanger,which made me immediately go buy the second one.  I am interested enough to continue the story and see how Julia and Cayne survive this next turn of events.

I would recommend this book to others.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG - Bitterness?

It's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month.  Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

This time I'd like to talk about struggling with bitterness.  On one hand, I am incredibly excited for my fellow writers to find agents and get publishing deals.  But on the other hand, it makes me feel bitter. 

What do they have that I don't have?  Can I ever be good enough?  Should I write more like that author?  Maybe I should write a book like that?


I want to be happy for my friends who find agents and are published, but sometimes I'm just a little bitter about it. 

We all have the same dream.  There are bound to be a few who never make it?  It's sad and a bit frustrating.

I don't wanna give up on my dream.  But, I'm a bit bitter of those who succeed and I'm still deep in the trenches.  I have to remind myself not to be bitter and to rejoice in their happiness.  Someday, someday.

Do you feel discouraged when another writer finds an agent?

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Goals

It is definitely and officially fall.  Literally, the leaves fall from the trees in a constant stream of orange, yellow, and red leaves.  It's beautiful.  Also, it is officially October and now appropriate for me to watch "Hocus Pocus" every night before bed.  It's my favorite Halloween movie. :)

I had a lovely September - things with work are a little stressful at times, but there are twelve babies.  They all want love and attention at the same time.  It's a balancing act, but I really do love it.  Time for an update on my goals!

Here's my goals from September:
* Write to 30,000 words on "Unless"
My current word count is 31,665 words.  I wrote 10,564 words this month. :) I am officially half-way done with the first draft of "Unless".  There's so much more to write! 

* Finish reading "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
FAIL.  I will finish, but I'm pretty busy with edits and writing "Unless".  Maybe on my vacation in November I will finish and review the book.

* Read "Not Your Average Fairytale" by Chantele Sedgwick
A wonderful, amazing book!  I really enjoyed it!  You can find my review here.

*  Buy "The Avengers" on DVD on September 25th
Love, love, love them.  Also, I really loved the deleted scenes with Captain America!  And I heard more deleted scenes with Steve will end up in Captain America 2.  Yay!  

Hunter as a monkey (Halloween 2009)
Goals for October:

* Write to 45,000 words on "Unless"
My current word count is 31,665.  I'll need to write 13,335 words for October.  I hope it's doable.

* Finish first round revisions of "Nameless" with my critique partner
We have only seven more chapters for her to review!  I'm hoping to get through them and decide what the next step needs to be.

* Participate in IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) on the first Wednesday of October
I completely forgot last month and I don't wanna forget again!

* Decide if I want to participate in NaNoWriMo in November
I've done it in years past, but I'm going to be working hard on finishing "Unless" next month.  I have to decide if I want to take a month off to write a new novel or finish the one I've got. :)

How did your goals for September go?  What are your goals for October?