My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Connecting with Other Writers

Writing is said to be a lonely business. But I disagree.

True, no one can write your story the way you can. You are the only one who can bring those characters within your head to life on the page. If you’re unpublished and not on deadline, it’s up to you to get that story written.

But I don’t believe we have to live up to the old writer stereotype. You know the one, a recluse writer, living alone next to his or her typewriter, the room filled with smoke from his or her last cigarette, surrounded by a stack of papers and grimy windows.Ā  If anything, we can’t afford to be that kind of writer. Readers expect to connect with the author, which is why the publishing industry pushes their authors to operate blogs, Twitter, Facebook or any other sort of social media. Plus, it makes you more accessible and more likely to sell your book if you get the word out this way.

But beyond all of those old stereotypes and modern expectations, I think it’s important for other writers to connect with other writers.Ā  They understand what it’s like to have those voices in your head at all hours of the day. They feel your pain when you are experiencing a plot hole or a particularly rough day when the words just won’t come.Ā  They can also help you see things in a new light. I know with my critique group, as well as with some of my online writer friends, they’ve helped me reevaluate where my story could use some improvement. I don’t know how many times where I’ve been stuck and a helpful suggestion from one of these writer friends has gotten me out of the hole and taken me down a path I wouldn’t have expected.

And who else can truly understand the accomplishment when you’ve made your word count for the day? šŸ™‚

Remember–you don’t have to go it alone!

It’s So Close…

My first draft is *this close* to being finished.

I have about 9 chapters left. I know, that’s still sounds like a lot–and it is in some ways–but that’s the closest I’ve been to finishing a draft in years.

My writing sprints during the Winter Writing Festival are solely the cause of this. It’s just so much easier to write when I’m “sprinting” with others. I know I can’t always rely on that, but if that is how I get this draft done, so be it!

I’m fighting the urge to go back and edit. So much has changed throughout the course of the draft it’s going to be difficult to make it consistent. I’ve been doing my best to keep notes on it but I’m sure there’s something I’ll miss. Let me tell you, as much as I look forward to editing this thing, I’m dreading it equally.

And the world building. Oy, the world building. I have so much to do on that front I’m already overwhelmed thinking about it šŸ˜› The curse of creating your own world from scratch I suppose.


When I Grow Up…

I don’t know where this came from, but the other day, I thought about all the different dreams and ambitions I’ve had over the course of my 27 years. Not counting those childhood dreams of being a ballerina, I think my first true goal in life came from my fascination with weather. At 8 years old, I distinctly remember wanting to be a meteorologist.

Funny, I know. How many eight-year-old kids have even heard of the word? Well, I was a bookish sort of kid (what a surprise, :P) and I wanted to know what you did if you grew up and studied weather. I believe it was my parents who told me and of course I devoured any book on weather. I even remember writing a picture book about it for a school project.

That dream lasted a few years until I realized I wasn’t quite the science type. I think around age 10 or 11 came my interest in history and in writing–both about the same time. I distinctly remember it was my obsession with the American Girl series and loving all the history that was packed into those 70 or 80 page books. Plus, my dad had always been a history and genealogy nut, so some of that rubbed off on me.

I wrote my first “novel” at age 12 about a girl in the 1840s who crossed the ocean with her family to settle in America. It was about 170 pages–front and back, mostly handwritten. The kids in school thought I was crazy for writing that much. I’m not sure I’ve met many sixth graders who have done that myself, so I probably was a little odd šŸ™‚

Throughout junior high and high school, I would write. I never got past the first three chapters of anything until recently. Of course my love of history deepened and I became obsessed with watching documentaries–I still am that way–and part of me wanted to go to school for archeology. I still dream about that sometimes, going on a dig somewhere, brushing off centuries worth of dirt from a chipped piece of pottery.

But honestly, I think the desire to write has always been there, even when I was just learning how. I love to tell a story–my first one my mom transcribed because I just couldn’t spell yet–and that’s still a part of me.Ā  I’ve still got a lot of “growing up” to do, though, in regards to writing. But I think writers always do; we’re always learning, always improving, always maturing in our work.

So, have you always had that desire to write? Were there other ambitions and passions you’ve had that are still a part of you now? šŸ™‚


Winter Writing Festival

Second Annual Winter Writing Festival, sponsored by the lovely women at The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, starts on January 11th! It goes until the end of February, so it’s plenty of time to write as well as connect with some of the other participants.

Here’s the official site in case you’re interested. It’s sort of like a personal NaNoWriMo, only you set the goals and give yourself a point each day for completing it. For example, I’m attempting to write 1000 words per day and take part in a live writing sprint on the website’s chat forum at least twice a week. I have found that writing with others helps me get the words out šŸ™‚

Since I’m probably 2/3 done with my first draft, I am hoping I can keep up enough to finish it by the end of the winter. And maybe this year I can actually enter the Golden Heart competition.

Anyway, it’s a great opportunity to start that long-planned novel or edit one you’ve had hiding away for so long. Even if it’s just the planning phase, now is the time to get started!

I forgot to mention that there will be giveaways too šŸ™‚ Ultimately though, the best part has to be joining other writers. Even though writing is said to be a lonely activity, it’s always nice to connect with others. It helps šŸ™‚

Note: I will post a badge up in the corner that will take you straight to their page in case anyone else is interested.

Another New Writing Year

2012 already? Good grief, where does the time go? It’s true; every year goes by faster.

I never updated how I did with NaNo. I didn’t hit 50K–made it to about 30. But I’m not upset; that’s 30K more than I had. Also, my critique group helped me figure out some things within the last month so I have a clearer picture on where it’s going. I just haven’t worked on it yet.

It turned out, as every idea I’ve ever had, much more complicated than I thought. What was originally just going to be a romantic fantasy turned into something else entirely, with the romance being less important than I’d planned in the beginning.

Oh well, that’s how writing goes–it always morphs into something you never envisioned at the beginning.

First or Third Person?

NaNo starts in 5 days and I’m trying to decide which POV to go with…again. When I wrote this the first time, I couldn’t decide and kept alternating it depending on the chapter. I’d like it to be consistent this time. šŸ™‚

I was leaning towards first person, since I’ve decided to only write from one character’s POV, but I’m hesitant. Traditionally, my first person writing well, sucks šŸ˜› I know, I know practice makes perfect but I think I’m called more towards being a third person writer, at least now.

Then I thought, I could write first person for the bulk of the story and third person when my character becomes Yuki-onna. But that might get confusing and I’m not entirely sure I’m good enough to pull it off.

But it is NaNo and it’s the perfect time for experimentation right? I guess I just want to come away at the end of this one with something that has even just a shred of promise to it…maybe that’s why I’m stressing about it.

Ugh. šŸ˜› This is supposed to be fun!


I’ve recently been delving into the backstories of some of my secondary characters for Beyond the Dark Divide. I’m finding out that it’s helping me develop the plot to my novel as all these stories interconnect to influence the novel events.

I’ve written summary backstories before for other novels and they’ve helped as well. But this time I think I may try and write a little bit of a narrative for some of them. I don’t want it to take away from my actual novel, but at the same time, who knows what I may find? There may be good short story potential in some of them. If not, well at least it’s helping me develop my world, right?

Have you written backstories for your secondary characters? If so, has it helped you discover something about your work-in-progress?

Short Story Markets

So, I’ve been trying to work at writing a few short stories lately, just to help exercise those writing muscles. But I wanted to look up places where I could actually submit these stories, and I’ve found a few promising ones.

Most are fantasy/sci-fi related, but I’ve just started looking. Here are some of the few promising ones:–I heard of this one from one of my crit group friends, who had submitted something to them. It’s for speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, alternate history and anything that you think can fall into this). They accept up to 12k and will go over, but prefer that amount or slightly less. If accepted, they pay $.25 per word for the first 5K. They’re wait time though is 6-8 months and they do NOT want simultaneous submissions. So you’ll have to part with your short story baby and wait until you hear back from them šŸ™‚ Considering you can make $2000 for a 10K word story if accepted, I can wait.

Glimmer Train–This is a rather well known literary magazine. They pay pretty well too but they have monthly themes you have to follow. For example, this month is “Family Matters” or Standard.Ā  If you submit in the Standard category, there is no reading/submission fee but the amount they pay you is much less. Also, this is a literary magazine so you have to craft a “literary fiction” piece. I know I’d like to try my hand at this at some point.

Solander–This is the official magazine of the Historical Novel Society, so you know I had to post this šŸ™‚ They pay $150 for accepted stories with a max of 5000 words. History has to play a major role in the story too and only two stories per year are published. Still, it’s something I’d like to try for since I’m such a history nut šŸ˜›

These are just a few I’ve found–I’m planning on buying the Writer’s Market for 2011 to look up more. Are there any good short story markets, magazines or contests you’d like to suggest?

How Much is Too Much?

Being a huge historical fiction fan as well as a writer in this genre, I’ve often wondered: when does the detail become too much?

I know as a writer I often go between the two extremes, either putting way too much detail in and diverting from the story, or not putting enough in and making the setting non-existent.

I’ve recently been reading two historicals (both which I’ll review here when I’m done, so you’ll just have to guess for now :P) and both have so much detail in them that I’m sometimes overwhelmed. Both also take place in different cultures and also employ foreign words a great deal. One of the books has a glossary in the back, while the other doesn’t and sometimes makes it hard to figure out.

When I’m writing my Japanese historical novel, I often have to find a way to describe whatever foreign word I’m using to make sure the reader doesn’t get lost. I know my critique group has gotten me on some instances when I don’t give the context of what it means in the following sentences. At the same time you don’t want to make it too obvious because it can throw the reader out of the story too. It’s a precarious position šŸ™‚

The best thing we can do as a historical writer–or any writer really–is just keep practicing–and reading other novels–to see how other authors craft their stories and to either follow their example or avoid any pitfalls they may make.


So, I was sick for about a week and a half and that pretty much zapped any desire to do anything. I’ve also been so caught up reading; I haven’t done that in forever and I’ve read six books in the last two weeks so that took me away from writing. Now I have to get back into the swing of things and it’s HARD. It always is…

But then once I jump that initial hurdle, I realize how much I’ve missed it. So…I’m back again, after yet another absence šŸ˜› Today I’m working on making my chapter summary somewhat readable for my crit partners (which shouldn’t take that long–it’s only a basic summary after all) and then I need to jump back into actually writing the story. I need to also work on editing the 2nd chapter since I’m up again at my local crit group in another week and half. But I have to get this thing done, at least the first draft, before June.

And I still need to start that story for the Writer’sĀ  Digest Contest. I’m nervous about it though because my MC is coming out a lot more…um, deranged…than I thought and I’ve never written a character like that before. I guess the only thing I can do is throw myself into it right?

I hope everyone’s writing ventures are going well!

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