Friday, August 29, 2014

New Paths

Oh this ever changing world we live in. Your life can change on a dime, or so I've found out a few times in my short existence. The newest one, Toni and I will no longer be writing the series together.

Not that I wanted it that way, but she decided to take other paths. I guess it's just the way it goes sometimes. Nothing I can do or say to change her mind, but I can live with it.

After all, this is my story and I plan to continue writing it. I did enjoy our time together and now I'm on my own. I can do it, so don't lose faith in me. It's all good!

I have lots of support from my family, critique partners and writer friends and of course, fans. It's nice to know so many people have my back and plan to help me through this time in my life. 

So off to new trails, as it were. 

I am hoping to get through the book a little faster now than was previously expected. My goal is still this winter, but at least it's better than next summer. I hope all of you are looking forward to Lore. So far, I believe the book is coming along nicely and I have lots of plans for its continuation. 

Hang in there my friends, it will happen!

I am on chapter 18 and halfway though it. I am trying to keep to the "voice" you're all familiar with. I will do my best since we wrote together for 3 years, I'm sure I will stick to it. 

You've all been wonderful and very supportive through my writing journey and I appreciate all of you! Thanks for being there for me!

Just to let you know, too, I am still working on the website. My plan is to focus on it hard this next week and get it published soon. I am really looking forward to having it up and running. I think it will be fun!

So, on that note, I will close this post for now. Have a wonderful labor day weekend and don't forget to relax!

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Need A Weekend Away

Have you ever had one of those days where you know you should've gone back to bed? Where you wake up and you're kind of in a fog and know the last thing you should do today is be around other people?

That's me today, so forgive me if I write something too "off the wall". 

These are the days that I don't dare work on the manuscript for fear I will really mess it up. I try to find things to keep my mind occupied on anything other than writing. 

Trust me - I need to stay away from the book!

What I need to do is read, take a hot bath, sleep, watch a movie, maybe even clean...but I really don't have the energy for that last one. No, I am taking it easy today.

My internet connection has been acting up, my TV's cable doesn't work half the time (we've had Comcast out here 3 times already) and my phone almost died the other day. Thank goodness I figured out how to fix it at least, need the phone!!

So, today I will ramble on here, and probably Facebook, and look forward to tomorrow in the hope that my head is back on straight. And no, I don't do drugs. 

I think on days like this you should take it for what it's worth. Call in to work and tell them you've got the "croup". Take a vacation day and make it a long weekend. Go to Starbucks and then right back home, (that's what I did this morning), or whatever it takes to come back to this world and leave the weird, foggy dimension behind.

I think I need a weekend in Buena Vista - badly!

Have a great day all and don't forget Toni and I are on Bittenbybooks We look forward to seeing our friends join us!

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 15, 2014

So Ready For Fall

This summer has been a tough one for me to stay focused on the writing. There has been so much going on. My daughter's wedding in June, my sister's need for time off and time to garden, my own mini vacations, and keeping my grandkids one to two days a week while they're on break. 

Finally summer is getting closer to ending. I'm looking forward to getting back to Lore. 

I have, however, tried to keep writing. When it's quiet around here in the morning is the best time for me to really focus and do some great scenes. Yes, they're rough drafts, but I can "see" better which way the story needs to go.

I sat down the other day and wrote a scene that hopefully my sister will like and we can put in the chapter we are working on now, chapter 17. I also rewrote a scene for chapter 19, one I had written a couple of weeks ago.

I have also been working on Lineage, the next book in the Djenrye Chronicles series, on the side. And, trying to look ahead as to what will happen in Lore so that I can start writing Tale book 3 of The Lorn Prophecy.

Writing a series is much harder than one story. There's so much to keep track of and I find myself doing a lot of rewriting when the story takes another turn than the one I first envisioned. 

Staying focused on the writing is the biggest challenge of all. No matter how stressed I am, the writing grounds me and helps me to think about how the story needs to unfold.

Social media can get in the way, too, so I am backing a way a little from so much time on the popular sites. Not that I'm not on them at all, just a little less than before. On top of that, we are working on getting our website finished and published. 

True, it's all in a days work for the life of a writer. But the most important thing of all - write - every day if you can. I've decided to set a goal of writing 1000 words a day except on Sunday's. Sunday is my husbands' only day off so I want to spend time with him and I teach my creative writing classes on Sunday, twice a month. 

I am hoping to up the word count as I go along to my next goal of 2000 a day, we shall see. In the mean time, I'm glad I have continued to write, even through these most stressful times. 

What do you do to make sure you take time to write? Do you set daily goals?

Let me know what works for you if you get a moment. But for now, happy writing!

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 8, 2014

Killing Off Your Darlings

An interesting subject came up recently that I thought would be a good one to discuss on here. First of all: Spoiler alert for the Divergent trilogy books. Just in case, I wanted to say that.

After talking with a new writer about his manuscript that he's writing and his thoughts of killing off his main character and then remembering reading the Divergent trilogy the question is: should you kill off your protagonist?

I would imagine most people already know what happens at the end of the popular YA series. For me, I didn't like it, but it didn't upset me like a lot of people. I've read books where this happens but usually there is a lead up, such as a sickness, or accident. In any case, with the world being so stressful anymore, I think most readers want a happy ending.

Now should you consider this when writing your novel? Well, I think it depends. 

When the third book, Allegiant, came out, there were people leaving bad reviews on Amazon about the book. Now, that's not to say bad publicity can't be good sometimes, but quite a few readers were really upset. In fact, when they made the first movie people were saying they won't go to see it because of what happens.

We all know people die all the time, sometimes those we don't want to die, but nevertheless, it happens. But I believe in most books you can take the reader to the edge, like in the Harry Potter books, but don't push them all the way over.

Reading is an escape from the everyday humdrum of life, not to mention, the stress of life. You become vested in the characters you read and to see them killed off can be tough for some. 

It's true, quite a few secondary characters die, but people are more able to handle that. Although, I've had people make comments about our book Fable that they were glad Wood and Jack made it.

I know writers want to kill off their "darlings" for effect, but sometimes you can take that too far. If there is no lead up, from the beginning of the book, that the main character will die, then the shock can be overwhelming. So when you think about killing your characters, think about how it will affect your readers.

Did this ever happen to you? Did you read the Divergent trilogy? How did you feel when Tris died?

There probably will be deaths in our books, and not always the bad guy, but I will think before I kill them off.

I hope all of you have a nice weekend! We will be on a internet radio show this Saturday. If you get a chance call in and talk with us about Fable. We would love to hear from you! Skiweesbookcorner

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 1, 2014

Where To Begin

Recently it has come to my attention, more often than not, that new writers do the same thing when beginning their first manuscript. They tend to fill the first chapter with back story, or information that doesn't pertain to the story and move it along.

I believe it's normal to want to tell the reader everything they can squeeze in about their main character, but unnecessary for the story. The reader will learn more and more about the protagonist as the story moves along. 

There are do's and don'ts when beginning your novel so I thought I would touch on them and hopefully give you a more understanding of how to begin your book.

When I first wrote Fable I wanted a build-up to what was happening to Stevie. I didn't want to jump right into her meeting Colton and finding out she was a Djen. I like a build-up, it's just I didn't realize how slow the book was moving.

My problem wasn't so much a lot of back story or information dump, but too much character building within the first few chapters. My writing coach told me if I plan on my book to be in the YA genre it needed to move along much quicker. So Toni and I moved up the attack scene on Jan, (Stevie's mother) from the original chapter 6 to chapter 2 and we gave the story a much more exciting chapter 1 with Stevie seeing Colton for the first time.

It meant for a lot of rewrite and lengthened the time to finalize the novel. But that's okay, I learned how "not" to start a novel.

First the whole basis of a story is what's happening to the protagonist and what the antagonist is doing to dampen the main character's progress. The main character should be struggling and suffering through the issue and just when you think there is a breakthrough, the antagonist throws another wrench in the works. Finally, the ending is, the protagonist gets through the problems.

Story telling is starting with an inciting incident. The initial problem(s), basically the event or decision that begins the story and pushes the main character along to take action in the story. 

It's when the main character's nice cozy, just going along life is now rocked and pushes them in a completely different direction that becomes life changing. In the end, the character has a new outlook or the issue has changed their world completely. Maybe they are a different person now.

So where to begin your story? At the onslaught of the inciting incident. We want to drop our characters right in the middle of the issue. Any back story can be woven into the scenes and only what is important enough to continue moving forward. 

The reader isn't very forgiving of info dump or back story in the beginning. They don't want to be stopped right in their tracks to be filled with a lot of information that doesn't pertain. You don't want to bombard them with a lot of characters to keep track of or setting description. 

With today's availability for a potential buyer to read your first 10% of your book, the first few pages, or even your first paragraph will make all the difference in the decision as to whether or not they want to buy. If we don't grip the reader from the very beginning, you might lose them for good.

Have you ever read the beginning of a book and put it down because of too much description or lack of direction as to how the story will be? Or, if you are a writer, are you having a hard time knowing where to start your manuscript?

Leave me a comment and let me know your experiences. 

Until next Friday, I hope you have a great weekend.

Love, Lisa