Friday, February 26, 2010

Breaking the Rules

I came across this great post called How to Break the Rules at the Book Cannibal.  He lists all the ones I've heard before, as well as a few I haven't. The end of the article points out that some of the rules apply more to short stories, and that speculative fiction (i.e. sci-fi and fantasy) tends to be an exception at times.

I am writing speculative fiction, so one of the rules I've struggled with is not revealing too much detail about my world up front.  I took a lot of the explanation out, but ended up having to put some back in because my readers were totally confused.  Instead of a prologue,  I now have a three-sentence Introduction which seems to be doing a good job of succinctly putting things into context before jumping into the action.

I really appreciate the advice about pleasing one person.  I've had so much feedback from different people, that I feel both I and my novel are both being pulled in too many directions at once. As a result, the narrative feels choppy to me.

I've decided to take a break from feedback and just write to please myself first.  I may end up completely changing the point of view, but the way it is now just isn't working for me.  So it's good to have the reassurance to follow my instincts.

The rule I would break is the one about describing scenery.  I re-read Tolkein all the time because of his lavish descriptions that pull me into Middle Earth.  While I'm not writing as much of that as he did, I'm still describing things a little more than many of my plot-oriented friends prefer.  But I feel it's important to establish the characters in their environment.

The thing is that the descriptions and world-building details that readers skim on the first reading, are the things they linger over on the second, fifth, and tenth readings.  I want my story to be rich enough to keep bringing the readers back over and over.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Gonna Get My Laptop

Woo-hoo!!! I am so excited.  I'm going to get my laptop.  Finally!!!!  Praise the Lord, I can have my OWN computer to write my novel... just for me and nobody else to use.  Hallelujah!

I really feel blessed.  Several opportunities have arisen for me to earn some side money, and I just logged on to my credit card's rewards website (which I've never bothered to check before) and found out I had a nice chunk of change waiting to be redeemed there, too.  So when I add that to the birthday money my family gave me last year, and counting the coins in my Laptop Fund jar, I should have enough for a modest machine.

Now, what kind to get?  Suggestions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Writer's Groups

(Note:  The comment feature has been fixed.)
I am feeling quite discouraged in my search for a writer's group.  There is one meeting this morning about an hour away from me, but I can't go because of work.  There is another one meeting tonight a little closer (but not much), but I can't go because attendence is limited and there are no more spaces.  As well, it's farther than I want to drive on a cold, dark, icy Thursday night.  Another one I attended last month wasn't what I was looking for.  Another one meets at one of the campuses where I work, but conflicts with my teaching schedule.  I also suspect that the students involved aren't as far along in the writing process, and it wouldn't help me much in my quest for publication.

I am almost at the point of starting my own.  But I have enough on my plate already.  I promised myself I would not start a writing group, no matter how desperate I become, because the responsibility for running it would quickly overcome the benefits.  Unless it is clear that we are only sharing work, not trying to come up with speakers and such.

P.S. I did end up going to the meeting tonight and it was awesome!  What a great bunch of people.  The only thing is that I'm afraid that (as usual) I talked too much.  Many writers tend to be introverted, and my extrovert personality tends to take over when I'm excited about something.  I hope they didn't mind.  I just wish that they met on a different monthly date, since I normally have another meeting to attend on the third Thursday.  But, it really was a great meeting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

There's nothing like a nice bottle of red wine

Hmmmm.  I just had a lovely Valentine's dinner with my husband.  I made London broil, loaded baked potatoes, and a salad, which were complimented by a lovely bottle of red wine given to us by some dear friends, and some homemade chocolate-covered strawberries.  DH wanted to buy some, but they were so expensive, I decided to try it myself.  Turns out that nothing could be simpler.  Melt some chips in the microwave and dip clean, dry strawberries in them. Presto!  A gourmet treat.

DH introduced me to Enya.  I don't know what prompted my tough guy to pick up the Celtic crooner's CD's but he did.  I fell totally in love with the sound and atmosphere of them.  I had been struggling to find the right tone for my novel, and one night as we were driving back from an anniversary meal in Cape May (about an hour and a half from our home), he played the Amarantine CD in the car.  I was absolutely entranced.  "That's it,"  I thought.  "That is the music for my story."  I have listened to the CD's umpteen times since then.  The Memory of Trees.  A Day Without Rain.  And Winter Came.  Some of the songs even inspired plot points.

So tonight, with romantic feelings aglow, a nice little wine buzz, and Enya on the stereo (DH's doing), I am going to write for a while.  Time to get Marenya past her gryphon encounter and into her emotional confrontation with Faldur.  I've been avoiding it all week.  Well, I have been truly busy as well.  And I should prepare for tomorrow's classes. But, damn the torpedoes, I 'm going to write.

Nothing like a nice bottle of red wine to tempt the muse, while the rest of the family are busy with their own pursuits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rebirth of a blog

Due to some weird formatting problems, I had to delete and re-create the blog.  So some of the information has been lost.  I will try to get everything back up as soon as possible.  Blame Blogger.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Blogging Break

Keyboards and chalkboards are conspiring against my fingers. I'm having trouble doing simple things with my hands, so I need to take a blogging break in order to save their strength for writing. I did meet my JanNo goal in time for the deadline, so I'm very proud of that. 30,000 words down, and only 70,000 to go!

By the way, this week is the 3 year anniversary of the first handwritten pages of my novel. It's come a long way since then, and still has a long way to go.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Building a Fantasy World

Pam Halter at Fairies, Fantasy and Faith has a post up today about building fantasy worlds. What things do you think are important in creating a believeable setting? Check out her blog or feel free to comment here.

There is a very funny article - a true classic - called "How to Write a Best-Selling Fantasy Novel." Click on the link for a chuckle!

By the way, I'm home sick today and am watching the bonus features on the "Fellowship of the Ring" DVD. It is comforting to realize that, no matter how much world-building we authors must do, movie producers must do infinitely more. So let's think of great ways to torture the future producers of the movie versions of our novels, shall we? Bwahahahah!