Sunday, October 30, 2005

What scares authors?

Halloween---a day of fright and fun. But everyday can be scary for authors. What you say? What scares a writer? Have I got a litany for you! As an aspiring author, you're scared you'll never get published. No one but your mother will like your stories and those who do say they like them, you question. Do they really like it or, like your newborn who they say is cute, but tell everyone else it looks like a little old man, tell others your work is horrible? Then you work up the courage to submit to a publisher and get a full manuscript request from an editor. Now you fear the mail. Your hand trembles as you reach out to take in the mail and find a thick envelop containing a contract for your work. Now you're euphoric, calling everyone and announcing the sale. Once the list is finished, you begin to fear that someone put the wrong stuff in your envelope. They can't want you? Can they?
But it is reality and you are on the road to publishing. You work over the manuscript, making line edits and changes. Now your fear is that the mean old line editor has taken out your voice from you work. But it works and now you've reach the place where you have to submit advance reading copies for review. Will they like it? Or will your 'baby' be disparaged all over the internet? You hold your breathe when you receive an email subject heading "I just finished your book." Are they going to say nice things or hate you? But it is a rave reveiw!
They like me! They like me! Now you're scaring everyone with a bad Sally Field impersonation!
Fear sets in again when you think too hard about the good reviews and fan mail. Are they just being nice? Don't want to hurt my feelings? I'm not good. I can't write. I'll never sell another manuscript.
But, what do you know? You do! And the terror starts all over again.
It may not be blood and guts, pain and screams, (then again maybe it is), but it's a roller coaster ride and adrenalin rush with no comparison.
Bring on Halloween!
You can't scare me.
I'm an author.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

There are plenty of things to consider when preparing for the grueling flow of creativity during the month of November. Here are a few of my tips and suggestions. Use them at will.

1. What to write?

If you're like me, you have a bunch of voices and ideas swirling through your mind at any given moment. Various scenes plague me throughout the day. I always keep a pen and pad nearby to jot everything down. The characters demand attention and since I need them as much as they need me, I have to take note. With all this activity happening inside my brain, how do I choose which story to focus on? Do I use the coin toss--heads is "XXX" or tails is "ABC"? Or should I put the titles in a bag, shake and reach in? What to do?

2. I know what I'm writing, what's next?

I write by the seat of my pants until about the 3rd or 4th chapter. By then, the characters are leading me where they want to go and I'm clear enough on how they'll probably get there. When I'm writing on a "normal" timetable, that's fine. We (the characters and me) have the time we need. But in November, we have to speed things along. There's no time for dilly dallying around. NaNoWriMo means there's no time for nonsense! So what can a pantser like me do??? (Without freaking out at the thought of [YIKES!!!!] plotting ahead?!?!?!) I'll tell you what works for me. I do a goal, motivation, chart. I get to know the characters and do a basic outline of the chapters...an outline that I'm pretty sure won't be followed to the letter because I'm a pantser and pantsers can't be bogged down with strict rules on her creativity!

3. It's October 29th and I'm ready to write!

GET THOSE FINGERS AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD! No cheating is allowed! The actual writing doesn't start until November 1st and if you're really eager, make that midnight, November 1st. So no matter how loudly the voices are talking and how ripe and ready you are to dig into the story--DON'T! There's the entire month of November for that. ;-)

Happy writing and good luck!

Friday, October 21, 2005

November 1st kicks off National Novel Writing Month. You can find more information about it here. Basically, it allows you, dear readers, to step into my shoes. You are encouraged to write your little hearts out for thirty days, the goal being to produce a 175-page, 50, 000-word novel.
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Go on, I dare ya. I'm joining. Let me know how it goes for you