Posts tagged writing craft
WIPs and Chains
I so wish I had a WIP to tell you about. Really in a bit of a slump here. It's not like I haven't been working mind you...last weekend I did some brainstorming with a couple of the Nine Naughty Novelists and I was excited to get started but then I got first round of edits from one editor, and cover art forms to complete from another editor (my goodness these are time consuming and brain-straining!).

The last two months have been a real challenge for me as an author. When an author says that, you can figure it is:

a. Bad review(s)
b. Rejection(s)
c. Writer's block.
d. All of the above.

When I have one of those times where I feel like I'll never be able to write again, my husband just rolls his eyes, because it's happened so many times and I always do. So hopefully...this too shall pass!
WIPs and Chains
Before I talk about my WIP I'm thrilled to announce that my book LOST AND FOUND is a finalist in the Passionate Plume!  Yay! Congrats to all the other awesome finalists!

I'm feeling great about my WIP this week because IT'S FINISHED! Well, first draft anyway. Although my first drafts are lot less rough (is that good grammar?) than they used to be, I do a lot more editing as I go than I did when I first started writing. Not sure if that's good or bad. Anyway, it's a 40,000 word novella and it was fun to write something short again and get that quicker gratification. But as with most of my recent projects, I felt this one could have been a lot longer. I could have taken more time to explore different facets of my characters' personalities and their problems. But I planned this to be a novella for a specific call for submissions, so it had to be short.

Now I'm off to Los Angeles early Wednesday morning for the RT Booklovers Convention and I can feel relaxed with a completed manuscript just finished. If I have time to do a little work, I can edit and revise and polish, which is much easiser to do when I just have a few minutes here and there than actual writing.

WIPs and Chains
I've been making great progress on this WIP! Right now I'm working on another hockey hero story. The hero of this story is Tag Heller, the brother of Jase Heller in Breakaway. I plan to submit this story as part of the O Canada theme at Ellora's Cave. Unfortunately I didn't check the submission guidelines closely enough when I started it and only discovered yesterday that these stories should have a maximum word count of 45,000 words. I'd planned this story to be 60,000! So now at 13,000 words, I'm realizing I need to pick up the pace a bit!  But that's okay. It's kind of funny that a while back I was struggling to write longer stories and now I seem to have no trouble with that!

On the weekend I heard back from my critique partner about a manuscript she was looking at for me, and was so happy and relieved to hear that she loved it. That manuscript will be with my editor shortly!  That was another one that I started out trying to write a little shorter - aiming for the 60,000 words and it ended up 70,000! Oh well. It had to be that to tell the story. I've mentioned before that I'd done a couple of workshops and read some books to try to help me write longer stories. I think the result of this is that my characters have improved a lot. I think the last few books I've writte that have turned out longer, have had more complex, three-dimensional characters with many more layers than I used to write. I think. I'm often not the best judge of my own writing!
WIPs and Chains
After another one of those weeks wondering if this is it, I'm done as a writer, I'll never write again,  I'm happy to say-  it's back!

I don't have those self-doubts as much as I used to because I've been through this a few times now. That feeling of thinking I should be writing...but I don't want to. I have ideas but none of them excite me. I have a few projects I've started that I could go back to. I did go back to them. They didn't excite me either.

This usually happens when I've been writing like crazy and yes, I've just completed a few manuscripts and I guess somehow my brain just needs to rest and regenerate or something. I wanted to write something fast and easy, something that doesn't take a lot of research or planning, something hot and sexy and fun. Even that seemed beyond me, though I'd started something that I thought fit the bill.

This morning I woke up early (except for the Daylight Savings Time thing - losing an hour REALLY annoys me, but maybe it wasn't so bad because I wasn't writing something and didn't feel that urgent need to GET UP OUT OF BED AND GET WORKING which I usually feel) so I lay in bed for a while and started thinking about the story I'd started and a few hot scenes came to mind and...whoa! I was inspired!

And I wrote nearly 4000 words today on that story. Yay!
WIPs and Chains
Monday morning and YAY! It's a holiday! So I'm at home today. Am I writing? Having finished my WIP last week, including a few passes through it to tidy up some loose ends and add a little layering, it has now been put away to rest. Along with the  NINE other completed manuscripts I have sitting there in my computer.

Well truthfully, most of them aren't just sitting there. Five of them are out on submission at various places.

I did write this week, though, because it was my turn to write my chapter of the next Nine Naughty Novelists serial story. Oh I had so much fun writing it! It was just fun - exciting and exhilarating and energizing. It reminded me why I love writing. And I can't wait until it's ready for everyone to read, I think it's going to be another good one!

I also worked on edits this past week for Breakaway AND I got a print galley for Lost and Found to review so I started that. And I'm mulling a few ideas over in my head, deciding what to work on next.

And since I just got my cover for Breakaway here's a first peek at it:

I quite love it!! That's Jase, pro hockey player, and Remi, sixth grade teacher.


I have a print anthology out today!! This is the "Wet" series at Ellora's Cave which includes my novella, Sexpresso Night. Here's that cover:
Woo hoo!!
WIPs and Chains
Back working on my chef story this week. I haven't progressed the story a whole lot, but I have added to the word count. Using some of the things I've learned in the last few months from the books I've read and the workshops I've done, which I've talked about here, I did a lot more work on the characters in this story.

Then I went back through the story and found places where I needed to develop those characters more. Added, lines, added scenes. I'm pretty happy with how it's working out so far. So I've added about 10,000 words to what I had before and wow, I'm ready for a crisis! 

This story is loosely connected to one of my stories I finished a while back, With Strings Attached, and my hero and heroine from that book make an appearance in this one. I would love this to be a series set in my fictional town.

I've mentioned before how motivating it is to get to this point in a story - 3/4 done! But the last scenes are also the hardest to write, at least I find. So, even though it feels close to being done, I know it will take longer to write the last quarter of the book than probably the first three quarters all put together. Wish me luck!
WIPs and Chains
So close, so close...almost finished the WIP! I was hoping to do it this weekend, but of course the last scenes are the hardest to write - the most emotional, the most gut-wrenching, and it's slow going. In fact, even though I'm anxious to be done, I found myself procrastinating because I knew how hard these scenes were going to be to write.

This whole book has been hard to write. I know it's going to take a lot of fine tuning of this first draft and I'm just hoping it all makes sense. Both these characters are really complicated.

I'm also surprised by the length of the book. My goal was 60,000 words and I usually find that's a very comfortable length for me. Lately I've been trying to write longer, but this one I wanted to keep fairly short. But Gabe and Reagan had other ideas! I could easily make this an 80,000 word book but I think it will likely end up somewhere around 65,000 words. It is what it is.
WIPs and Chains
And a contest!

To celebrate the release of our print books on the same day, my friend Erin Nicholas and I are having a "friends" contest at The Romance Studio. You can win a copy of each of our new print releases Love 2 Love U and Just Right PLUS a copy to give to one of your friends! Check it out here. Contest goes until January 31/11.

I've been working hard this week on "Gabe's story". Yes, I really need a better title. I've been thinking about it off and on and have come up with numerous titles that I thought were okay, but then changed my mind. I guess I can worry about that once it's finished.

I have to say Gabe is a very complicated man and he is giving me a hard time! He's also giving Reagan, my heroine, a hard time. It also appears, despite my careful planning, that the story may be longer than I planned. I'm now up to 44,000 words and it's time for a crisis but Gabe's not ready for that - I haven't hurt him enough yet!

This is interesting to me, because recently I've been trying to write longer books and struggled a bit with it. I took a couple of workshops and I've read a few books to try to help with that and what is actually quite cool is that it's the books on character that have helped with my plotting. Now, I know I write character-driven stories, but it quite amazes me how much the plot can grow based on deeper characterization.

Now...back to Gabe.
WIPs and Chains
First of all I have to apologize to anyone who has been trying to email me through my website About a month ago my web goddess made some changes to my website at my request in order to protect my privacy, however the changes have impacted the email account. She fixed it once but then I found a problem again. I don't know how many people tried to email me and couldn't get through, but I'm so so sorry if you did! It should be fixed now and hopefully no more problems. If you ever want to contact me and email doesn't work, just leave a comment here at at the blog, I always get those!

So as for works in progress...I have been making progress on what I've been calling "Gabe's Story". If you read Power Struggle, you'll know who Gabe is, and I had so many readers asking for his story! I intended to write his story and I've been working on it. I started it a while ago, but struggled. Gabe is a complicated man! And for that matter, so is Reagan, the heroine of the story. But I've gotten back to it and I'm about half way through now. And I'm pretty happy with how it's going, though it's not easy!
WIPs and Chains
Monday morning and the holidays are over...almost. I still have today off from the day job and I'm hoping to get some writing done on the current WIP. I did work on it over the holidays although the last few days haven't been as productive as I'd like.

On New Years Eve I was completely unable to write because I was upset and distracted about something that had happened, so I sat down and reread the manuscript I finished about a month or so ago. I like to let my finished works rest and then go back to them. So I read With Strings Attached from start to finish. I found a few little continuity details that I often overlook during the writing, like they'd just been out for dinner but then he says he's I fixed a few little things. But mostly I just read it. And I liked it. Even if I wrote it myself, I enjoyed it.

Which led to a huge feeling of frustration. I'm not the most patient person in the world (just ask my family!) and I have this manuscript here that I so want to share with people and yet, depending on what I decide to do with it, it will be probably two years before it's out in the world, if not longer. I'd love to send this one to my agent, though I'm not sure if she's interested, but I just sent her something so I can't send it right now. If she is interested in looking at it and then thinks it's worth pitching to editors, I know now from experience how long that process takes (over a year and still going!). Even if we were successful selling it to a publisher, release dates are usually at least a year after that, if not longer in the print world.

I could just send it to one of my digital publishers, which is what will happen if agent's not interested, but my first choice publisher already has TWO of my manuscripts that I'm waiting to hear back on so I don't think I'll be sending a THIRD. By the time I can send it, wait months to hear and then, if it's accepted, get a release date (which last time I sold to them, was a full year after the contract offer)  it will likely be coming up on two years before it's published.

And I want people to read this story now!

Patience. I need patience. Lots of it.
WIPs and Chains
Christmas has come and gone! I hope it was wonderful for those of you who celebrate it. Here we had a great time - lots of family time, laughing, eating, drinking and oh yeah, a few presents!

For the last week I haven't done a lot of actual "writing". I  mentioned in my "What I'm Reading Wednesday" blog a book I'm reading called 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I can't rave enough about this book. I've been working my way through it with several of my WIPs and it has helped me solve so many problems. Today I just finished off some revisions to a troublesome manuscript I completed a while ago, which I love, but which has not been well received, shall we say. I think (hope!) I have made some changes that will make the story more satisfying. I'm ready to send it out into the world again. (Urgh).

I've been working with some characters from other WIPs too and now I've seen how I can incorporate what I'm learning from this book into my writing, I'm eager to start working on other manuscripts. I'm on holidays from the day job this week so I'm hopig to get lots done! (Picture me rubbing hands together over my keyboard). I love learning and I'm always looking for ways to make my writing better, whether it's workshops, books, or just analyzing books I read that I love to figure out why. I think in 2010 I learned a lot and I'm really looking forward to incorporating what I've learned into my writing and growing as a writer.
What I'm Reading Wednesday
I finished Fools Rush in by Kristan Higgins and I do believe I have now read all her books. I enjoyed this one, as I have all of them but I wished for a little more of the romance between Millie and Sam.

Then I read (very quickly) Ice, by Linda Howard. This is my first Linda Howard book and probably wasn't a good intro to her. It was quite short (I borrowed it from the library so didn't pay for a hardcover book that's probably not much longer than category novel length). Her writing was good and the suspense was good, the romance was way too fast (I know it's a romance and people can fall in love in one day, but still...) and I didn't get the point of the story...the attack was random and how did everyone learn and grow through that? I will probably read another of her books though.

I'm also reading a couple of non-fiction books this week - Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, and 45 Master Characters, also by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. 45 Master Characters is freakin' awesome!! I borrowed this one from the library too, and I haven't even finished it yet, but I love it so much I just ordered it from Chapters. It has totally solved a problem I had with one of my completed manuscripts (guess what I'll be doing over the holidays!).