your soul.


your story.


new worlds.


outside the lines.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finishing up THE LOST SISTER

I'm in that crucial point where I've gotten 3/4 of THE LOST SISTER (the sequel to SISTERS OF MISERY) written, and I'm starting to freak out a little bit. I think that I'd feel better if I had a pygmy tarsier as a pet (they just rediscovered this little guy, one of the world's smallest and rarest primates, in Indonesia that was thought to be extinct for eight decades. If he was my writing partner, I think that this task would be a lot easier. Well, not really easier, just more fun!)

But seriously, I'm into the novel by about 250 pages. I've got at least fifty pages to go and I need to end the book. Unlike some writers, I rarely know how my book is going to end. Some writers won't even put pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard) if they don't know how and when a story will end.

I like to be surprised.

Yet, right at this point is when I start kicking myself for not being more prepared for the ending. I know how I want it to end. I think that it's a good way to end. But getting there is not as easy as it seems. I need to go back throughout the book and make sure that everything leading up to the ending makes sense and doesn't detract from the story line. I need to make sure that there aren't any loose ends that need tying up. I need to make sure that my characters' motivation remain consistent throughout the book. And I also have to make sure that the ending is satisfying for everyone. Myself included.

So, as I await the arrival of my pygmy tarier (there very few left in the world, so I'm assuming that I'll have to just settle for a screensaver of the cute little guy), I will be wrapping up Maddie and Cordelia's story as they, along with everyone else in my family, impatiently wait for me to finish.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fun Procrastination Tool

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New stuff online

New Review!


New article!

Thanks Charlene Peters!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanks Amazon! #18,510 in Books

I need to mark this occasion down so that when my number heads back up into the 400,000 range, I can look back and say, "See Stephenie Meyer, you only beat me by 18,509. Ha!"

So, now I need to get back to finishing THE LOST SISTER. A friend asked me in an email the other night what my process is for writing a book. Do I outline? Do I know where the book is going? Do I have a big picture or do I write scene by scene?

Realizing that I would have to answer his question, I figured that I would post it here for other writers struggling with the same questions. First, let me start off by saying I'm NOT an expert at this. Having only one book published (and another on the verge of being published if I ever finish it), I should NOT be giving advice.

Now that I've made this disclaimer, here goes: everyone has their own writing style. What works for Steven King won't necessarily work for Donna Tartt. What works for Cormac McCarthy won't work for Dennis Lehane. Basically, everyone has their own style, their own timing, their own writing rituals. There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to writing.

I recommended to my friend to check out the National Novel Writing Month and give that a shot. It's a great way to just slam out a book, get words down on the page, ignore the inner critic and just get the story out.

If I were to dissect my own writing style, it would be like putting a puzzle together. But not any puzzle, one of those mystery puzzles where you don't know what the final picture is.

Sometimes I lay out the framework of the puzzle and then try to connect the pieces slowly and efficiently within the frame. (In other words, I've set an outline of the whole story and I know where I'm going, I just need to fill it in.)

Other times, I focus on small areas of the puzzle (in terms of writing, these would be individual scenes). I know that all of these smaller parts need to fit together, so I have to start looking for ways to connect them so that they make sense in a larger picture. When I write this way (without an outline), I can't really see where the story (or the puzzle) is going until I have enough of the puzzle put together and the story starts to emerge from the random pieces.

This is by far my favorite way of writing, because I like to be surprised by the outcome as much as the reader. Yet, this is also the most difficult way of writing, because it's so open-ended. You can end up putting the wrong pieces together, getting frustrated and throwing the whole puzzle away. Or, you can leave it on the table for awhile and look at it, come back to it every now and then and see if you can fit a piece in here or there. Eventually, if you are dedicated enough and want to see the final picture, you will stick with it until the puzzle reveals itself to you.

There are some writers that are so strict with an outline, a daily word count and deadlines. I'm not one of those writers. Then again, I'm not a writer who waits for "the muse to whisper in my ear." I've waited long and hard for that muse, and she constantly bypasses my house.

I've also heard writers say that the characters talk to them. God, that would make my life so much easier! No, my characters don't talk to me (maybe that's a good thing considering writers already have a reputation for being a little out there). But there are times when I'm writing that I will surprise myself and the story takes unexpected turns, characters do things that I wasn't planning on having them do and connections are made that I didn't see until I completed the whole puzzle...I mean picture...I mean story.

So, there you have it. My writing style is a mystery puzzle, even to myself.