Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stick to your goals

The last couple weeks I've been really busy, and consequently, a little stressed and overwhelmed. I won't go into great detail of my day, but what I realized is as an author you have to make small goals. If you say you are going to write for six hours every day, when you haven't even been writing one, you will feel overwhelmed from day one and give up.So make small goals. I had to get myself back in the habit of writing, so I said I would write 200 words a day. 200 became 300, then 400. What I found was that if I made a small goal, by the time I met my goal I was warmed up and wanted to keep writing. Sometimes I'd get 700 or 800 words. Also, make sure you aren't over extending yourself- as in, trying to do too many things at once or help too many people. Learn to say no. People think just because you are home you are free. But if you're a full time writer, and are working then you aren't free. J. K. Rowling has an excellent quote: Be ruthless about defending your writing time. Even SHE has to fight for her writing time, because people are always and will always try to schedule other things for you during that time.Establish your writing time, treat it like a real job that you can't just take off or call in whenever you want, and stick to your guns! And make sure your daily goals for writing is something you know you can do- even if it is just writing one sentence. I have found so many times that I will tell myself to only write one sentence and I'll be done, but once I write that I don't want to stop, and end up writing a couple paragraphs or even a page!I know that doesn't sound like much, but the way to walk a thousand miles is one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making small goals

The key to writing a book is persistence- I've said this before. The key to persistence is having a good writing schedule and setting a word or page count goal. Make sure this is a small goal, something that isn't intimidating. Right now I have my word count goal set at 200. This helps me get to my computer and not feel overwhelmed. But usually, when I start writing, I find that I don't want to stop at 200! However, if I set my goal at 1000 words a day, I wouldn't want to even start! It would be too daunting!
Start small. Start! Keep writing every day- even if your word count is 10! The more you write, the easier it will be. Keep at it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Been a while- But I'm back!

Had a bit of a rough year! Hospitalized twice in six months. YUCK! But, I'm back, I'm healthy, and I'm working on my third book! I was so surprised to see that I have two followers! And I haven't worked on this thing in over a year! I was discouraged because I didn't know how I could get followers. Guess they'll just come when they're ready! So for you, Tamara, and for you, Eli, I am working on this blog!
I was reading it again, because I haven't worked on it since September of 2010, and I was like, "This is GOOD! I wrote this?!" lol personal motto is "Go to hell! It will teach you what you need to know!" I certainly know this past year was hell, but I stuck with it, and learned a thing or two. Or... more.
I've been very influenced lately by the movie The Secret, by Rhonda Burnes. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, DO SO NOW! Right now! Go to and order it! It will not only help you see that writing a book and becoming an established author is not an unrealistic goal, but quite the opposite!
So, point here is, I'M BACK! And I ain't leavin'! My goal is to sell 50,000 copies of The Rise of the Synija by June 1st, 2012! Imagine having a copy of Harry Potter at this stage, how much money it would be worth now? Later guys!
(Side note, ha ha ha... I did spell check, and apparently ain't is a word!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writing Medium

Not sure if Writing Medium is a real term or not, but, as an author, I have the privilege to create new terms! What I'd like to discuss today is the means by which you write your book. Some people when they first begin their books don't give a second thought to the physical means of how they will write it. Their desktop will do.
I have nothing against desktops, but personally I couldn't write a word on my book if I had a desktop. I have to have my laptop. Some people have to have a pen and paper, or even a quill pen and parchment. (Imagine all the scratch outs?) Play around with style!
My computer (Lambert) has had a rough time lately, and Microsoft Word got taken off. So I had to finish my second book on Word Pad! I've wanted to start my third book, but the thought of writing an entire book on Word Pad again... ugh. So my sister, Tamara, told me about this program called Y Writer. A free computer program designed by an author specifically for writing books! I downloaded it last night but didn't have time to play around with it, but that's the goal for today!
Apart from finding your preferred method of writing, it's important to set the mood. I like to light candles and incense and play music fitting to the scene I'm going to write. If it's a fight scene I play heavy metal! Likewise, a sappy scene would produce classical music.
Inspiration comes from the subconscious. Smells are the quickest way to jar a memory. So if you use the same scented candle every time you write, lighting said candle will be a trigger to your brain that you're about to go into writing mode, and then your focus will improve as will your writing. The more consistently you use triggers (like the same music and smells, or even food) the more the results will amaze you.
Happy writing!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back from my break- Staying Focused

I didn't purposely wait so long to write my next post, but I guess my brain decided it needed a break. During said vacation, I had all sorts of wonderful misadventures. Without turning this entire blog into a rant about society, I will say that I've had my share of major frustrations lately. It's easy to lose the desire to write when I'm trying to worry about if we're going to pay the rent or have enough money for groceries.
So I'm not going to go all sappy and tell my life's most depressing moment. I only want to impress that life will always be full of surprises- many of which you could live without. During these times it's easy to lose courage and sight of your goal.
I've had to re-invent my reason for writing my books. I started when I was very young, and while I wanted my books to be best sellers, I did not want to write them for money. I wanted to write them for the story. For me and my family to have a good series to read. Now that I'm older and somewhat more cynical that reason doesn't seem to be enough. But after two years of constant stress, worrying about bills, worrying about jobs, worrying about religion and medicine and weight gain-- I realized all this worrying wasn't doing any good whatsoever. So I came up with a new reason to write my books: to be happy. What is the point of putting so much energy into something (bills for example) if it doesn't make you happy?
Mind you I'm not talking about instant gratification. I'm talking about true, lasting happiness. When you're ninety and look back on the memory you smile instead of grimacing.
The point to all of this is that I'm back in gear. I have purpose again. If someone asked me what the single most important thing to have to be able to write a book it would be purpose. Even over a vivid imagination and a poetic way with words. If you have no reason to write, you won't.
So, stay focused! Find a reason to write your book(s) for YOU and no one else. In the end, you are writing for you. Today I start the first word of Temple of Ten Thousand Bones....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Word Anxiety

It's been a little over a week since I finished Valley of the Dying Sun, sequel to The Rise of the Synija. I read VOTDS in about five days, and was so excited about how good it was! It needs a little polishing, but overall I'm happy with the way it turned out. Now it's time to put it away and let other people read through it and give me feedback.
Which gives me the time to turn my attention to the third book, Temple of Ten Thousand Bones (tentative title). But I'm finding a strange resistance to beginning a new book. It's as if I'm having difficulty letting go of my second book. It's been so long since I've worked on another book. I'm still in shock that it's finished. How do you move on to a new love, after loving this one for so long? Yes, it's still the same story. I imagined that I wouldn't be able to wait to write that first word on my third book in the Synija series. Yet, it's a threshold that I don't feel ready to cross.
Lately I've been contemplating the past and the future. It seems so many people want to change the past, but they accept that their future is set in stone. They are doomed to fail at their business, make their parents' mistakes, or be alone forever. Yet they obsess about past mistakes, wishing they could go back in time and change them. It is not the past we should want to change, but the future. And in order to change the future, we must accept the past.
This reminds me of starting on my third book. In order to move on with the story, I have to accept my second book- the past- as it is, and have the courage to move on. I did enjoy writing my second book, Valley of the Dying Sun. I could spend another decade trying to make it perfect, changing things and adding scenes, but the story would never progress.
I feel that everything has to be perfect before I can start my third book. As if there is some ceremony I must attend, some rite of passage. But in reality, right now is as good a time as any. And it's time to move on. Let the past be the past, and move forward into the future. Write the first word....

Brainstorming Part II: Building characters and worlds

I thought as I began my third book that although I may need to create some new characters, my world was already created and I didn't have to go through that process. Wrong! I have discovered (much to my joy) that I have places in Drunair that my characters have not been and will be going in the third book. So it's back to the drawing board.
In Writer's Digest I once read that the way you know if your characters are truly alive is when they take over the story and do their own thing. At the time I thought the person who had written this had gone wacko, until it happened to me. While some may argue that I myself have lost my marbles, I have spoken to other authors who have experienced the same phenomena. No matter how much they want their story to go in one direction, it's not up to them. It's up to their characters.
You want your characters and world to come to LIFE! How do you do this? It's quite simple really. Get to know them. Ask these questions, and then answer them.
  • What is your name?
  • What is your quest?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What do you look like? Hair color, eye color, body build, height, etc.
  • What sort of clothes do you like to wear?
  • How old are you?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  • What is your personality? Are you laid back, or a hot head?
  • Do you have any weird quirks, such as a nervous tick?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • What are your interests/hobbies?

Pretend like you've just met your character at a social gathering and you are considering going marriage. You'd like to know everything about them. What is their darkest secret? Character flaws can be very interesting as well, to both you and the reader. Flaws make a character seem more human, and therefore more believable. Even if your character isn't human, a weakness is still important. No one is perfect, even elves and unicorns! Play up your character's flaws!

Ask similar questions for your world. How old is it? What does it look like? One or two moons? Or three or four? Keep an open mind. Because you are writing a fantasy novel, you don't have to follow the laws of this universe. For instance, my world of Drunair, is a flat planet, complete with an ends of the earth and everything.

When building a fantasy character or world, one of the most difficult challenges I face is seemingly the most simple of things. A name. If you name your fantasy character Mark, Josh, or Chris (no offense husband! His name is Chris) you're not really speaking fantasy to your readers anymore. With one common name, you've just brought your reader out of the beautiful fantasy world you've worked so hard to create, and back into our own world. Now that they're back on planet earth they remember "Oh yeah, I have bills to pay. Better go do that." Then they yawn and set down the book. NOOO!

Go to google and type in fantasy name generator. Or just fantasy names. Or Celtic names. Keep your ears and eyes open for interesting names. When you go to the grocery store find out the name of the cashier. They wear a name tag, and sometimes you can find some very unique names. Watch movie credits. And when you hear that awesome name but don't know what to do with it, keep a notebook or computer document of just names that you'd like to use. Then when you suddenly need a name you can pull up your list instead of having to stop your progress of writing.

As I said earlier, getting to know your characters and world brings them to life. So draw them! I'm certain that unless you have a physical handicap, everyone can at least draw stick figures. Draw them as detailed as you can, and then color them. If you do have a handicap, draw them in your head. Visualize them as clearly as if they were standing in front of you. Draw a map of your world and name as many places as you can. Find out the population of your world.

Be unique! Not every place on earth snows each winter and is sunny each summer. Drunair is somewhat of a sub-tropical climate. Again, you do not have to follow the laws of this universe. Make up a new climate if you want! But remember not to step over the line between fantasy and sci-fi... unless you want to.