Whole Book Critiques and Not so Alone in the Ocean

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I’m three days early in adding this post, but simply can’t help myself.

This year my on-line critique group is doing whole-novel critiques. We just finished critiquing and discussing Donna’s book. It has been a wonderful experience, for, as Donna pointed out, we all chose her chapter 2 as the chapter we least liked or saw whole-book purpose to. Yet, she reminded us, when she passed the chapter through our group while we were doing one or two chapters at a time, we all liked the language, chapter arc, etc.

We’ve been learning that we can be great writers, but miss the forward-moving action of a great story. It’s an eye-opening discovery.

It can get very lonely and discouraging, waiting to hear back from editors or agents.  This past Christmas I heard from two long-time writers friends who decided to pour their creative energy into other-than-writing stuff — Aaron is in theater and Meridee now does pottery. They’re both great at what they do. I’m glad they’ve found contentment.

Sometimes I feel like I’m splashing around in an ocean, clinging to a life ring, waiting to be rescued. I feel some hope as I kick together with another writer, also on her life ring, or a group of us (networking, it’s called in the real world). I let the theatre and pottery boats pass me by. I sometimes rest a while on a magazine or web boat. But I aways end up back in the water, kicking and hoping and waiting. Some day I know that agent-editor boat will pass and rescue my weary bones. Sometimes at the crest of the wave, I imagine I see land… but I’m not sure.

Keep on kicking, you faithful writers. Either ship or land is bound to come our way sometime.

As the Recession Dips, Creativity Soars

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It’s not just me. Several of my writer friends have been given a shot of creative enthusiasm lately. People are not getting acceptances like before, but maybe we are realizing that we can no longer send out just any old thing we slapped down from our keyboards. In my opinion, writers are becoming smarter and deeper and certainly more craft-conscious. Perhaps it actually goes hand-in-hand with the recession. Maybe it is because there are not the acceptances, that more time is spent on revisions and rewrites v.s. submissions. I say, Yeah for the literary world.

Happy Creative New Year, Everyone.

Day 4 of my First NaNo — My NaNo Buddies

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I have 9 NaNoWriMo Buddies on my NaNo page, people I can keep track of, and see where I fall in with. I’m very proud of my son taking up the challenge this year, along with the bazillion other things he has going on in his every day life. Makes a mommy proud. But as far as my own pacing, I like to check up on my on-line critique group. 4 of the 6 of us in the Blue Quills critique group decided to take November off of our submitting-critiquing schedule to participate in NaNoWriMo. Two had done it before. The two non-NaNo-participants are spending November in novel revisions.

So here I am today, typing happily away (or at least thinking about doing so), when I decide to procrastinate a little more of working on my NaNo novel and check how my NaNo writing buddies are doing . Natisha, Jaqueline and I are plugging away about the same-ish word count, and then there is Lap-Boy-Holding-Rose, so far ahead of us that the dust has already settled. I’d like to know, Rose, may I please borrow Colin for a few days? Sure, she says her writing is a lot of stream of consciousness, but once you have the words down, THEN you can go back and add, delete, or rearrange.

Congratulations, Rose. Really. Congratulations all who have written anything during NaNoWriMo, officially participating or not. Any words down, are some words down which weren’t down before. (And you may quote me on that.)

So now… I guess I’ve procrastinated long enough — although I really am curious about the machine noise clanking and banging down a few houses; maybe that will be my reward for writing my first 500 words today. BUT, will they be gone by that time? Oh, what is it? What is making that strange-to-the-neighborhood noise? No, wait! We are almost out of milk. Must go buy milk. I’m getting thirsty for it already. I could check out the noise as I drive past. Must go… Must go to work now on my NaNo novel, a MG historical fiction, THE TOWN THAT DISAPPEARED.  (Ooooo!)

NaNo Novel Decision

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October is supposed to be planning month for NaNoWriMo. Part One of my plan is to decide which novel (story-line/plot) I’m going to be writing out.

When I first decided to take the NaNoWriMo plunge, I was going to rewrite one of my MG fantasy novels (North Wind) during the month. I’ve been struggling with it off and on for a couple months now and thought this would be the nice push to get it completed. 

I also considered rewriting my horrid self-published (PublishAmerica) adult thriller (The Spin Murders). Not that the plot or characters are horrid, but my word by word writing corrections was never put into the draft. My “editor” sent the original ms to be published. Yeesh. So I thought I’d use November to ready that novel for when my 7-year contract runs out.

Decades ago, I wanted to write a novel about my perfect school — what it would be like. (no working title) Years ago, I started the idea for a Native American school, incorporating many of the ideas from my other alternative school idea. (Golden Paints the Sky)

I considered expanding my 3 Tristan fantasy chapters I’d written for my son’s Carlson Photo Writing Challenge into an actual plot and story during NaNo, but all I had were three incidents/scenes, no plot.

Then I thought I ought to just start fresh, like the No Plot, No Problem philosophy of NaNo. I thought of a cool story of a town which disappeared. (based around Silver Lake, MI)

THEN I thought of writing a MG historical novel about dunes taking over a town and a mystery which is buried forever with the town. (East of East, working title) So the past two days I’ve been doing lots of research of different things I’ll need to know. I suppose I can also research it AFTER NaNoWriMo is over, when I do the revisions. Now, with 2.5 weeks to go, I think I’ve settled on this last novel idea. But what great fun it’s been to allow my creative juices to flow in just coming up with ideas and doing research. Writing is awesome.