Posts Tagged ‘novel writing’

Why is it easier to blog than to work on my novel? I cannot really say. Except that with every few hundred words I write here, I have the privilege of hitting the word: Publish. Whereas, with my novel, ‘publish’ will not be an option until many more months of labor have been inserted. Oh, yes, and several thousand dollars. Nevertheless, I do make progress on my novel. And with each word I dutifully type into the Word document I get just a little bit closer to finishing.

Some novels are hard to write because you lack inspiration. Others, because you lack focus. Still others, because you lack incentive or experience. But a select few novels… These are hard because they hit a little too close to home. They express more of yourself than you meant to share. And going to the computer to type no longer feels like an escape from the every day. No; it feels as if you are reliving your every day.

Now, all along I have protested that this novel has been a painful growth spurt–and I do believe it is. But I am also beginning to wonder if maybe the novel is so hard because it is so much of myself. I can recall writing Asandra (Book 2) and telling my mother that it was too sad. No one would like it. And yet, it was the novel where people began to say, “You let us see so much more of you.” It was the tale that got people really, really hooked to my writing.

So, in truth, the Lure of Lemons may turn out to be the epic failure I fear it will be. Or it may become yet another turning point in my career. Either way, the answer will not be found on this blog or in procrastinating any longer. It will be found in finishing the work and risking myself yet again to share it. The consequences for failure won’t be so extreme; but the rewards for success will be sweet. So I had best get back to drafting…

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Unable to allow my cold to stifle writing forever, I brewed my favorite cup of coffee (saved for special writing occasions only), turned on Pandora, and sat down with my laptop yesterday afternoon. I was surprised by how well the words poured forth. They were not gold, but they were the second-to-last coat of polish that these final chapters require.

I shiver with excitement as I realize how close I am to the end of the novel. Editing well in-hand; printing researched; and we leave in only a few minutes to meet my cover artist to preview the design for Mark of Orion. Can it be?

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As a kid I was able to attend a Young Authors’ Camp. I learned a lot that stretched me and grew me and challenged me as a writer–before I even knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. It was amazing to return to the camp this year, not as a student but as a speaker. I was able to share a success story with other attendees and pass on what I have learned from publishing my novels. All the students were wonderful, but its hard not to particularly enjoy the shining, excited eyes of the younger students who are so ready to write and believe in what might to others deem impossible.

With the morning’s speaking behind me, I returned to my homework, bought yet another round of items for our sales at SoulFest (with the help of sister Kate), and went back to more homework. My parents are just as busy as I am so we ordered a pizza in, ate it at three different times, and continued working. I accomplished some big projects today, but I have more still to do. Better get off my blog…

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Today took an unexpected course. I anticipated it would be primarily school work, but there was some shopping that had to be done for one of my projects. My mom and I ended up running errands for most of the afternoon. But by the end of the day, I had finished a big project that will hopefully earn me three credits, spent lots of time with my mother, and enjoyed dinner and a movie with my parents. Awesome!

A day like this seems to leave me hungry for writing. The words and ideas were overloading my brain cells by the end of dinner. Of course, when I got to my computer they took a while to return to me. Once they did, my brain was set on fire again and I can hardly wind myself down for sleep. As my Facebook post said, “Novel writing is bad for one’s sleeping habits…” but very fun! I am on the verge of beginning an exciting part of my story and I can hardly wait.

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Creating unique characters is a really good thing for a writer to do. We all know that. Those characters are often what make us fall in love with a series. This is proven in books like Artemis Fowl (where a 12-year-old criminal mastermind was a character people loved to watch) and Percy Jackson (where a demi-god with some small disorders, a simple wit, and a devotion to doing right pulled readers in). But such characters generate their own problems.

I have this character in my new novel and she has a creative background that makes her a loner. Now, I love how distinctive she feels. But how do you write about a loner? How do you have her interact at all with your other characters? You have to create a believable reason that would draw her into the company of others (and keep it unique). You cannot place a loner in a group for no reason. Writers like designing ‘tough-guy’ characters, but we do not always follow through on logical reasons for them to utilize the help of others. Let’s talk about such contradictions for a moment, and how to do them right. Because contradictions can be very alluring in novels (take the above examples of Fowl and Jackson).

InXsardis my character Vaylynne was a rebel working with the royal family. A rebel working with royals? People could believe it because of how it happened. It was not an instantaneous decision. There was a dramatic enough event to pull her skills into service, but even then she secretly worked against the royals for most of the book. This gradual change could be followed and readers could route against her in the beginning and for her in the end without too much of a stretch in their reality-based minds. Let’s face it, writers rarely have reality-based minds. Our imaginations float to the clouds until anything seems possible. This is why we hire editors or assistants: to bring us back to planet Earth.

Here is the thing to remember. The more unique your character, the greater the challenges. Just be sure to generate a situation or a logical progression that allows readers to really buy the decisions your character makes. Otherwise, their uniqueness will fade away as disbelief fills the reader’s mind.

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Backtracking in a story is dangerous for me, but is also fairly frequently required. As I get further into a book, I often realize I left something important out. Let’s say I am in chapter 11 when I realize that I forgot something in chapter 3. While I could go back and fill in the blanks at the end of the book, making sure I follow a logical progression for the characters during my draft is important. I may need to introduce an aspect in my backtracked chapter 3, that I would have put in incorrectly in my next chronological chapter 11, and this can give me major headaches. So foregoing chapter 11 and writing chapter 3’s missing piece is the better solution. The problem with backtracking is I can get lost back in chapter 3, and where the characters were then. The solution, to re-read. But now that my book is at 70 pages, that is a major undertaking.

I don’t have a word of friendly advice to you on the subject, fellow writers, except do what you have to do to keep your story intact. If you realize you left something out and you can safely put it in later, then stay focused on the present and ignore the past. But if it is central to the plot, the chapter, the characters, or the morale of the story, then go back and fix your problem. Never be afraid to re-read. You cannot do it too often, as it will keep the story and the characters and the intensity fresh in your mind.

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What should I be doing right now? Writing my midterm paper or a variety of other school/work projects. I tried this morning. And I got some good work done. But my heart and my mind and my creativity are always with this novel I am working on. It is not even a book I want to release for several years, but my imagination doesn’t seem to care.

So as I listen to Pandora’s ‘Film Scores Radio’, I compose my own tale. The characters, the voice, the adventure, the mystery all seems to be falling into place in a way that it has not since I wrote Issym (or maybe never). What a joy to write on days like these!

I love connecting creatively with my nephew Silas. My winter village is still up since I have been gone, the snow has lingered, and the basement is not quite ready to embrace my pieces. Silas and I walked its center aisle yesterday and he asked me questions about who lived in the houses. We imagined together and it was sweet and good. Some moments you just want to stay in forever and that was one!

And in other news, the Bangor Public Library has purchased two copies of the Xsardis Chronicles. Hooray! So if you have been waiting to read them, request them now!

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