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this is my little writing corner - i'm going to use this journal to post my writings and my musings on the craft as well as my struggles along the path - all of my actual writings (and all of my posted brainstorms) will be friends-locked (feel free to comment here to be added), but i highly encourage comments/critiques! - i'll also be collecting any nifty writing articles i find - i am looking to collect writerly friends - i give thoughtful critiques when i can (i'm a little rough out of my comfort zone, as you may expect) - speaking of comfort zones, i am a fantasy fiction writer - my current WIP is a modern paranormal fantasy (werewolves and vampires), but my main ongoing project is high fantasy (swords and sorcery) - there is a chance the paranormal fantasy will take over though as i now have a universe i am VERY excited to be writing in

Current WIP list

this'll just be a reminder for those who've followed me from my old journal - but here is a pretty much comprehensive list of my current WIPs:

Alexis is the main character in this, my oldest WIP - it's a high fantasy - i've only just recently become less protective of the information about it - now everything that i've posted in regards to it has been tagged at my old journal "writing - lexi's story" - i have been away from this one for a bit - it sits on the back burner while i work on the wolves (see further along in this list) - when i come back to it, i'll post more here

this is a story that i need to get back to eventually - i haven't been working on it much and there is a LOT to be ironed out here - Naiya is a girl who can turn into a black leopard - her (adoptive?) parents put her into a psych ward when she tells them about it  but can't prove it - she learns to control when she changes (just barely) by the end of the story - meanwhile, she's being chased by the CDC, who think that her affliction is something that could possibly be used to fight some of the major illnesses of the world (since she's never been sick) - and if the CDC can't use her blood that way, they want to contain her to be sure that she's not infectious - i'm working this story into the universe of my wolves because it makes things much more interesting and actually gets me excited for it - though i'll need to do an outline for this one for sure - there is a LOT that happens in this story

this was inspired by a couple of music videos i saw - she's an angel sent to live on earth among humans, he is a man whose life has broken him - not much has been fleshed out on this one, but what's been posted has been tagged at my old journal "writing - angel & broken man"

dubbed twilight for the werewolf chicks - this is the story of Lynn, who turns to the werewolves as her only escape from the vampire that used to be her friend - all info posted in regards to this story is tagged at my old journal "writing - wolf" (and some here as "writing - wolf" as well) - this has MOSTLY been a "pantser" story, meaning i have flown by the seat of my pants for it - this is the story i am currently pouring my all into at the moment - it's current working title is "Running With the Wolves" - i'm not sure if that'll stick - i'm working on importing the posts from this one here as well

none of my stories get titles until i'm mostly done with them - i learned that with the multiple rewrites my high fantasy has gone through

more notes on story concept. . .

because i am always impressed with the concept articles by Larry Brooks - today's notes are an excerpt from A Clearer Understanding of Concept:

The Great Gatsby’ –  that concept is: “what if you believed you had to become rich to find love, because the love of your life is a gold digger?”

That’s not a premise, because there is no Gatsby or Daisy yet.  No plot yet.  Just a notion, and a universally compelling one.  It’s not a theme, either, because it doesn’t yet say anything.  It’s a dramatic proposition.

Thematic, yes… great concepts usually are.  The difference is noun vs. adjective.  Just as it is between concept and conceptual.

Think about it… The Great Gatsby is built entirely upon – not around – that concept.  Only with that conceptual proposition, that compelling energy, driving the premise does Gatsby work.

Which is where Superman comes back into this little lecture.

Because Superman, the entire notion of that character, IS the concept.

The premise of that story is: bad guy chases a young planetary peer to earth to fetch the codex upon which he intends to rebuild his demolished world.

That’s essentially the plot, with a hero, a villain and something at stake.

A premise.

The concept upon which it depends – the thing that is CONCEPTUAL here, stated as a “what if?” proposition, is: “what if an infant from a dying planet is sent to earth, discovered and raised by humans, and ends up with vast strength and superpowers?"

Not a story yet.  But very much a compelling notion.  Something conceptual.

Notice the two things, the premise and the concept, aren’t the same.

synopsis help

an excerpt from The Word Writers Dread by Stina Lindenblatt: TIPS FOR WRITING SYNOPSIS

Where’s the ending?
The query should intrigue the agent or editor enough to request your manuscript. It’s like the blurb on the back cover of a book. You don’t want to reveal the ending of your story in the query. This is a major difference between the query and synopsis. If you don’t include the ending of your story in the synopsis, it’s an instant rejection.

Don’t Forget the Voice
Sample pages are not included in the submission package sent to editors. They rely on your synopsis to get an idea of your voice. A dry sounding synopsis isn’t going to win you points. Just like with the query, try to infuse voice in your synopsis.

Whose POV Is This In?
The synopsis is always written in third person, present tense, even if your book is in first person, past tense. The exception is when you reveal backstory necessary to the synopsis. Then you write it in simple past tense. If your book is in first person and you’re having difficulties writing the synopsis in third, write it in first person then change it to third. If your story is told from multiple point of views, pick the protagonist whose story is the main one, and write the synopsis based on that. It’s impossible to include everybody’s storyline in the synopsis without confusing the reader, so don’t even try.

Keep It Simple
Your story will be complex with multiple layers and characters, but for your synopsis, keep it simple. Mention only the key characters and only focus on the main points of the story. This is easy to do if your book follows basic story structure (e.g. inciting incident, first turning point, midpoint, second turn point, etc). For more information on story structure, check out Save the Cat by Blake Synder, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, and Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hague. And make sure you show your protagonist’s character arc in the synopsis.

How long?
This varies from agent to agent. Some ask for one page. Some want up to five pages. If it’s more than one page, the synopsis will be double spaced. A one page synopsis will be single spaced. The easiest way to write one is to make it as long as it needs to be to get your main points down, then edit, edit, edit. To save time, create several synopses of different lengths, then you’re ready no matter what the agent requests.

Start Early
Get in the habit of creating the synopsis before you write the first draft. By doing this, you can ensure you have a cohesive story that moves forward, and you don’t waste time on a story with structural issues. Also, if you eventually go on to sign a multi-book contract, your editor may want to see the synopsis for your yet unfinished books.
Review your synopsis anytime you make changes to the plot. There’s nothing worse than expecting a happily-ever-after ending, as stated in the synopsis, only to discover that in the manuscript the author sent you, the hero is murdered in a tragic ending.

Get Feedback
We spend time ensuring our queries are compelling and free of errors by enlisting the help of others to give us feedback. Make sure you take the same care with your synopsis. While your agent will help you make it shine, if need be, they are extremely busy. By putting it through the same degree of scrutiny you put your query through, it will make her job easier. And that will make your agent happy.

what if. . . .

what if our guardian angels are not just our loved ones who've passed - what if they're angels of the appropriate sex (depending on your orientation) who have been "assigned" to you because they've fallen in love with you? as i wrote in my twitter the other day, what if the concept is this: it is only when you love him/her most that you can find the strength in you to protect him/her as she deserves? the hopeless romantic in me sees such potential here - and maybe that's the only way a guardian angel can truly do his/her job


notes on story concept. . .

Beware the Under-Cooked Story Concept by Larry Brooks
(special thanks, of course, to jongibbs or putting this on his weekly roundup!)
  • idea does not equal concept
  • theme does not equal concept
  • concept "describes more than what the story is about, it opens the door to a dramatic question"
  • "what is the concept for your story?"
  • "what is my hero’s core story goal… what opposes it… why… and what is at stake?"
  • "What dramatic question does it pose?"
  • "What hero’s quest emerges from it?"
  • "What opposes the hero on that path?"
  • "What are the stakes?"
i need to make sure i'm answering these as i sit down to write about the wolves - answer these BEFORE i decide the outline's done - maybe even answer these before i outline?

more writing notes

from Larry Brooks' article "Staple This To Your Forehead"
  • The highest goal of your storytelling is to write about something happening.
i really need to get the outline of my wolves done so that i can respond to that

to hold myself accountable. . . .

i came across the following Cracked.com article today:
in the light of this, i present my list for next year:

  1. i will finish my first book about the wolves (there are at least two more stories in this universe =D)
  2. i will lose at least 10 lbs (hopefully more like 20-25, will start with counting calories since it worked so well for me before)
  3. i will become gainfully employed somewhere that will allow me to be with my family as well (no more nights and weekends!)
  4. i will start the process of getting back to school and target fall 2013

also, our family will be doing this as well:


because this sounds fun! =D

Tell me about a story I haven't written, and I'll give you one sentence from that story.

creativity month

So NaNoWriMo is officially in swing - now I'm not gonna commit to that in any official fashion (I think maybe that intimidates me) - BUT - I am going to make a concerted effort to dedicate this month to creativity in my house - I have a sewing project or two to get done, but there's also the wolves howling - and I watched a trailer for the origin story of the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz - it has awakened the dreamer & I itch to create - I fully intend to encourage all my NaNo friends & keep my own personal prgress updated here - maybe if I can handle this creativity month this year, I can actually commit to NaNo next year (yay procrastination! =P)

Posted via m.livejournal.com.


My Dearest Livejournal,

please stop trying to "fix" what isn't broken - you are not facebook - those of us that are here stick around because you are so UNLIKE facebook - please stop making the differences disappear

all my love,
(livejournal user since 2004)

two other articles

i haven't actually decided if either one of these is particularly helpful for me - but here are two articles i've had sitting open in my tabs (likely thanks to mister Jon Gibbs =P):

Help Readers Suspend Disbelief (and Avoid Plot Holes) by Elizabeth S. Craig
  • basically, i get that if you have to have something happen because your plot kinda depends on it to and you're just kinda hoping the reader won't ask questions, address it on your own - even if it's a flimsy reason, at least then it's a REASON and not a plot hole

My favorite revision tool: Storyboarding by Jo Knowles (jbknowles)
  • i dunno if i'd be able to do this until maybe AFTER i'd decided to go with chapters or sections or whatever - but it looks like it COULD be handy to do - might even be handy if i decided i wanted to START with chapter breaks - though this kinda goes against what i'd originally been taught to do with my writing - i always am one to keep an open mind though, so maybe it'd be worth giving it a go
hopefully someone out there will find this entertaining - keep an eye out here soon for maybe an outline or something of that nature regarding my wolves - i'm diving back in - maybe i WILL do NaNoWriMo this year. . . .

more editing notes

the stuff listed HERE seems so simple, but i think (for me especially) it could be easy to miss on editing runs - my notes from the article (italics are direct quotes, everything else is my summarization and digestion):
  • check word placement and usage - "Sirens screamed, bouncing off the buildings and deafening me. " - Wait a minute. Were the sirens bouncing off the building or the sound?  "Sirens screamed, the noise bouncing off the buildings and deafening me."
  • is someone having "problems with his health"? or just "health problems"? (isn't the second simpler and better?)
  • simple sentences get more life if a specific detail can be added - "She filled the sink with water and slipped the egg-crusted plates into the suds."
  • also be careful with those pesky adverbs - of course you whisper quietly or shout loudly, some adverbs can be useful (conspiritorially, sensually), but there may also be other ways to show this instead of just telling about it
  • and from the comments, it seems that it is ALWAYS a good idea to just read it aloud - the whole thing, not just the dialogue

also, if you're facing down the prospect of a professional editor, THIS ARTICLE goes over the terminology of the editing stages


so my dragon and i got the swords up on the wall - we still need to get a wall mounted hanger for my huge no dachi (which is a gorgeous 6-ft-long masterpiece) - i'm excited - this place is really coming together - posting this mostly since i'd asked for help before - we decided to use mug hooks - they just screwed into the drywall and are holding everything pretty securely with the help of some little finishing nails to keep things at the proper angles

the light on the wall is not a permanent fixture - it's just there to help illuminate the back half of the wall that the flash was trying to leave out

why. . . and the editing process

THIS article encourages you to dig down deep and connect everything with the WHY's
  • connect the backstory to the plot - give everything a why before you sit down to write and things will stay consistent - reread the example in the article when you need a bit of help  - (also explore how WHY could also be "how does that make him/her feel?")

and then there's THIS article which does a good rundown of what to keep an eye out for in the editing process
  • true this is mostly just a refresher, but it does do a good job of listing just about everything to keep an eye out for, so it's a nice sort of checklist to run down once you think you've done all the revising/editing you think you need - and as some article or another has mentioned somewhere, your work should really be as polished as you can personally make it before letting your betas have a go at it - and then you should polish some more after they're done before letting editors see you manuscript

calling all writers on the flist: HALP!

no seriously - when i write, i don't think of chapters or how to split it all up - my story is just one big fluid piece - why would i want to throw CHAPTERS in that?!? well i know that it'll help a reader - but should i really be thinking of that before i get the story written down?!? should i be outlining in chapters before i sit to write the next draft? help help!

a note on consistency

Terri-Lynne DeFino (bogwitch64) has a wonderful post with some advice for first drafts:
"Print up daily pages and set them aside. Before you move on the next time you sit to write, line-edit those pages."

so i figure as i go to rewrite my first draft for my wolves, i will wrap up a writing session by double-spacing everything and printing it up - before sitting down the next day, i'll mark up all of what i'd written the day before - as noted in the comments on Terri-Lynne's post, it will help to keep EVERYTHING (voice, momentum, etc.) consistent - but i have to ensure i don't get bogged down with it

also, regarding my wolves, it is important to note that i need to ensure that Lynn is reacting properly to the events laid before her - not crafting her reactions based on what i need for the scene


hmm. . . .

so i've been quiet here - it's true - i've moved everything i own now into a wonderful apartment here in beautiful south florida - i love that there are no winters here - we're in the middle of fall, and it's still 80 degrees when i wake up in the morning - makes me happy - even if it does rain just about every day, it only does so for an hour or so and then the sun's a-shinin' again

i'm trying to get back to my wolves - i've had a lot of ideas that have made it into text on my phone, but i need to transcribe them here for you guys because i am SO excited for the direction this story is taking

(super secret preview: Frederick (who WAS my "big bad") will only have a bit part if any at all to play in the newest revision!)

i also have to:
  • do some touch ups on a part of my halloween costume
  • sew a cover for my pup's bed (something washable)
  • create my awesome denim pirate-inspired trenchcoat
  • finish getting everything unpacked
  • find a couch (that doesn't stink) for the living room
  • get a new mattress set and bedframe
  • get my car registered here (and my license and insurance transferred)

anyone know of any good/cheap ways to hang swords on a wall? i'm thinking maybe just nails (maybe the roofing sort with the big heads), but i'm not sure

plotting/complications worksheet

clicked around to links of things i found through wome writerly types and found a REALLY great article that kind of just breaks it all down for how a story needs to go with questions in worksheet style - apparently it even includes word count goals for each section - reminds me a little of the things we had to do back in high school to show that we were actually reading the books we were assigned, but filling this out voluntarily actually seems so much more FUN =D

Plotting Made Easy - The Complications Worksheet by Martina Boone

this is a really awesome resource and i intend to use it for Naiya's story for sure and likely to go back and double-check things for the wolf story (i can even see my high fantasy benefitting from this)

sorry for the brief hiatus. . . .

i had to move - now the internet is up and working and awesome and the posting shall resume (i can think of at least one of you who got inundated with comments as i frantically try to catch up) - still working on catching up - if there's anything nifty you'd like to point out to me that you don't think i've seen yet, feel free to comment here and i'll click on through =D

hope everything is going very very well for all of you - and i hope the muse is being kind to you writer-types on my list =D