Monday, June 25, 2012

Unofficial NaNo Pep Talk for High Count Writers

Have you written more than others you know? Have you pushed through almost a full draft of a new novel that is well over 50,000 words?

There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed.

That's the first thing I need to tell you because chances are a lot of snobs will tell you otherwise. Just because you happen to write faster than some of the others is nothing to be upset about -- neither for you nor for them. What you do does not concern them, but you see . . . a lot of them are not writing, so they have this time to make swipes at people who are, and they're not very logical about their attacks either. There are several factors which come into play when you are writing more than some of the others which might include an outline, more time, better focus, less time being snarky . . . and a love of writing.

The last is the part many people never take into account when they look at those who write more than what is often considered normal -- as though there could be such a thing anywhere in the world of writing. Everyone works to a personal beat and with as much energy, ambition and ability as the author can translate to moving little fingertips on keyboards. We find our comfort zone for writing, whether that's one paragraph or a dozen pages at a time.

So don't let the naysayers about 'quantity and quality' jab at you. I've been working with writers for more than a decade and I can tell you something these people don't want to hear: The speed at which you write the first draft has nothing to do with the final, published quality of the material. I've known people who have taken years on their first drafts and had stories no better written than something of the same length and genre another person took a month to write. In fact, I've found that the faster some people write novels (not all, there is no all in the world of writing), the more coherent the first draft is because the author has kept better contact with the storyline and characters.

Speed has nothing to do with quality of writing. Quality comes from what you know, what you are willing to learn and how well you edit afterwards. Write slower if it suits you, but don't be afraid to fly and don't let anyone else tell you that you shouldn't fly either.

You've done well. You should be proud to have your wonderful first draft, whether done or nearly done. Get the manuscript finished, set the story aside for a while before you start the work of editing. Don't let editing scare you, either. This is a wonderful, wondrous gift for writers who are allowed to rework and reword every bit of their art until they can get the stories they want.

Me? I'm about to start the last chapter of my novel. I have over 80,000 words on it, and I've really enjoyed writing the book. (Those of you who know me from November NaNo runs would expect me to have written more -- but I was very busy this month. I'll save the multiple first drafts for November!)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Storm Sale

I have put one of my favorite urban fantasy novels on sale for a few weeks in honor of summer striking my area (and the area of the novel) with the usual fury.

Summerfield grew up traveling from one odd place to another while his parents searched for enlightenment.

And yes, he does work for the nation's leading paranormal publication, Wolton World News -- or Woo Woo News as the scoffing locals call it.

That doesn't mean he's prepared for all kinds of weirdness in the last place he expected to find it . . . Omaha, Nebraska.

An unexpected storm and the search for a large mutant cat are only two of the unusual things happening as the Wolton World News reporter finds himself involved in something a bit odd even for him!

 Summer Storm is on sale for only $1.99!

You can buy this fun little book from Smashwords.  Use the code NE69B at the check out to get the sale price:

Smashwords has epublications of all the major types:  Mobi (Kindle, etc.) Epub (Nook, etc), PDF and more.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Balancing: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour #12

The balance in life isn't always about time or taking away from other things. More important is the attitude you give to what time you have. Writing is rarely going to be the most important thing in your life. It can't be for people with jobs and family and all the commitments that go with them.

However, here is something odd I've noticed with a lot of writers: I see them say they are balancing life, work and writing, but they really aren't. They are shoving writing in to the last, dark little corner they can find and doing everything except write, even when they have a choice.

The point isn't how little time they spend with writing, because sometimes people do have far too much on their plates. The problem is the attitude they have towards the act of writing. It's not important enough to forgo an occasional television show even they think is inane. It's not important enough to them to make time.

Some people don't try to balance. They convince themselves writing is the least important thing in their lives and treat it as such. That's fine, if you really don't intend for writing to be more than an occasional pastime. But don't pretend to yourself it's anything else. I know people will an incredible amount of stuff going on in their lives who make what time they can and get words written when they're able and who take their work seriously.

Do some of you talk more about writing than you write?  Blog more about it?  Tweet, chat, etc. and discuss writing, but rarely get around to doing the work?  Maybe some of you need to think about change.

No change of this type is easy, but sometimes a person has to make a little extra push if the writing really is important to them. The push is more in attitude of how you treat writing as part of your life, and not always in actually giving it much more, if any time.

Attitude is far more important than many people think when it comes to writing. If this isn't something you make important, that you treat as an honored part of your life, then how can you write your best?

But then we come to me. I'll be honest. Writing is so natural and so much a part of my life that I sometimes make things too easy to write. The good side of this is that when it comes to it, I still have material I can edit and make better, while those other people have nothing.

Oh yes, I often let 'real life' hang while I write that extra chapter, but I'm in a position where it's not going to matter if I don't get dinner on time or the dishes done until two in the morning.

I do have work, but it is of a sort that allows me to write around things sometimes. The harder I work on my paying job, the faster I can get it done and the more writing time I have. A person doesn't often get so lucky! The work work I do -- Forward Motion for Writers, Vision: A Resource for Writers, A Conspiracy of Authors -- are things I usually do for other writers. I enjoy doing those things, but I can let any of them slide or a day or so if I want.

If you want to get to read about nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Be sure to read tomorrow's post by Sharon Kemmerer

Friday, June 08, 2012

Camp NaNo and Muse and more

The week has not been great overall, but the writing is going well. Resurrection: Chance and Change is up to 28k. This is a Science Fiction tale and though I suspect the first part is to 'introvert' heavy with the characters, I can fix the problem later. My goal is to have 90k for the book, and I hope to have all of it written in June. We'll see if I can do it because I do have other things going on. I have a good outline for it, though the current chapter has gone far off of it. I'll be back in the next chapter, though.

But then I always have other things to do, don't I?

I am also cleaning up and editing Muse, a novel originally published in the Holly Lisle Store. This is an absolutely just for fun novel and it's been interesting to edit it and update it a bit (Palms to Smart Phones, etc.). Here's a little snippet:

"This is a real mess. We've had flooding in town before, but never anything threatening for days on end, and where there's so much trouble elsewhere in the area we can't even count on help from the outside. It's frightening to realize how much depends on a few bags of sand. I feel as though there can't be enough sand in the universe to keep us safe."

"Sand is finite," Killian agreed, brushing a few grains from his shirt sleeve and onto the table. They could hear Alain get out of the shower. "And with so many other towns in need of the bags --"

"I suppose sand is finite," Parka said suddenly. "Or can you count something constantly in the act of creation as limited?"

"Finite resources from which to create sand," he said. Alain looked in at them, shook his head, and went toward the front of the house instead. "So there can only be a limited number of grains in the world, even if everything changed to sand."

"Why are we limiting our definition to earth?" she asked with a grin.

"Because it would be very hard to get sand bags brought in from Alpha Centauri just now?" Killian offered.

"Well yes, but . . . if space is infinite, then there are infinite worlds and infinite grains of sand -"

"Not all worlds will have sand, at least not in a form we would call sand. But if you are going to go with the infinite universe theory, why not go with the infinite alternate Earths theory instead?"

"Oh! Good point! That one works much better --"

"I hate to interrupt such a mind-boggling, intelligent conversation," Alain said, coming back to the archway between the kitchen and dining room. "But I thought you would like to know there are a couple wackos heading for the door, Parka."

For the rest of the week. . . .

Let's talk about rudeness. We're all rude at one time or another. It's part of human nature. But there appears to be some people who go out of their way to annoy others. This week, a few people are upset that I created a chat room, on the site I own, called Zette's Crazed Writing Club. This one is strictly for those of us who love to write, who enjoy talking about writing, and who are often crazed when we write (no matter what the actual word count).

There are plenty of other chat rooms on the site so if the idea and name behind this room bothers you, feel free NOT to come into that one. Simple answer. Those of us who do go to the room will most likely be writing and enjoying ourselves. If that doesn't appeal to you, fine. Stop complaining to me and being rude about it. (Yes, another email today.)

End of that rant!

I accidentally startled my oldest cat, who leapt straight up and then down on my left hand, putting a claw through the lower part of the little finger. My, that's just so much fun for typing. It's better than it was, though! The swelling has mostly gone down.

We also had to have a huge old Maple taken down this week. The tree was lovely, but parts were dying and the neighbor began to rant. This, of course, cost us a lot of money we didn't have. It also means, no matter what, Russ won't be home for our anniversary again this year. Probably wouldn't have happened anyway, but there is always that little hope. (This will be our 33rd anniversary, by the way.)

So I am throwing myself into Camp NaNo and having fun. I get to write a fun novel and it's free. I'm not going to do something like the November NaNo counts, though!

Latest Release:

A low tech, backwater world and an easy assignment. What could go wrong for one of Inner World Council Security's top agents?
Humans hiding secrets are always dangerous.
Devlin's Team, File 1: Dancer

Friday, June 01, 2012

Today starts June Camp NaNo.

Up until this year I've said I would only ever do the one, traditional NaNo madness in November. The others didn't interest me. However, someone being rude about NaNo in general on the FM site annoyed me enough that I decided to leap into the June set up.

No, not the wisest way to get involved, but you know . . . It kicked me out of some complacent, rolling along work. I had to push to get the outline done -- as much of it as I could do. The end pieces are not as strong as I would like, but I hope that by the time I get to that section, I'll have a better feel for everything.

I am writing Resurrection: Chance and Change. This is a science fiction novel about a group of people who did something drastic after their captain died in a brawl at one of his usual gambling games. And the person they're pinning their hopes on is brave, smart . . . and has a lot of secrets of his own.

This might be just the sort of thing I need for June, which is looking like another miserable month otherwise. We have to pay to have a tree taken down. Russ will not be home for our anniversary (5th year I a row) and various other real life things that just make life annoying sometimes.

But I have my writing. I have a brand new book I am about to write, so life can't be all bad, right? I do not intend to make this a mad rush through writing like I do with the November NaNo, either. I plan to have this novel done at the end of the month, and nothing more.

I think this is going to be fun.

(Late day report: 5190 words into the novel. Yes, it is fun!)

(Oh and the picture -- Cotton-topped Tamarin. I use them in the story!)