Writer’s life

The Real Story Behind Pacing…post at Magical Musings

>I used to think pacing was all about action. Car chases, shootouts, hostage situation or, if we’re talking about a contemporary romance, it would be a personal crisis or business in immediate jeopardy.

Then I read the most recent Koontz novel What the Night Knows. And I realized that pacing isn’t about action, it’s all about presenting story questions then making your reader wait to discover the answer.

READ MORE >>

>The Real Story Behind Pacing…post at Magical Musings

>I used to think pacing was all about action. Car chases, shootouts, hostage situation or, if we’re talking about a contemporary romance, it would be a personal crisis or business in immediate jeopardy.

Then I read the most recent Koontz novel What the Night Knows. And I realized that pacing isn’t about action, it’s all about presenting story questions then making your reader wait to discover the answer.

READ MORE >>

Can’t Write Worth Shit

>I wish our brain came with a defragmenter, like our computer hard drives.

With everything going on around me–both writing and non-writing related, my mind is all over the place. And, boy, does that mess with my writing.

I know everyone suffers from distractions, as my CP, Elisabeth Naughton, can currently attest to. Lately, mine have been ramping up, and between the writing related stresses and the home stresses, not to mention the holidays and work, I swear my gray matter is pinging around beneath my skull like a game of computer pong.

How I miss the days, not so long ago, when I could immerse myself in my characters, daydream about their lives, their loves, their goals, their troubles. It’s so much easier to deal with someone elses troubles, isn’t it? And even easier when you dole these troubles out to fictitious characters knowing how you’ll remedy them in the end. (At least vaguely.)

Yes, real life really does intrude on a writer’s life sometimes. But I guess I’m going to have to figure out a way to write through it, because I don’t have any plans on giving up writing and real life will always be there. Every minute of every day.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my characters, I have to remind myself that’s a good thing.

>Can’t Write Worth Shit

>I wish our brain came with a defragmenter, like our computer hard drives.

With everything going on around me–both writing and non-writing related, my mind is all over the place. And, boy, does that mess with my writing.

I know everyone suffers from distractions, as my CP, Elisabeth Naughton, can currently attest to. Lately, mine have been ramping up, and between the writing related stresses and the home stresses, not to mention the holidays and work, I swear my gray matter is pinging around beneath my skull like a game of computer pong.

How I miss the days, not so long ago, when I could immerse myself in my characters, daydream about their lives, their loves, their goals, their troubles. It’s so much easier to deal with someone elses troubles, isn’t it? And even easier when you dole these troubles out to fictitious characters knowing how you’ll remedy them in the end. (At least vaguely.)

Yes, real life really does intrude on a writer’s life sometimes. But I guess I’m going to have to figure out a way to write through it, because I don’t have any plans on giving up writing and real life will always be there. Every minute of every day.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my characters, I have to remind myself that’s a good thing.

Direction

>There’s nothing more valuable in the writer’s life than a trusted critique partner.

When you’re in the thick of any writing stage, from plot to polish, it’s easy to lose your way. A critique partner is the one standing on the mountaintop watching you make your way up a wooded trail. She’s got a bird’s eye view and a walkie-talkie to guide you when you’re stuck in a valley where you’re convinced your only escape involves scaling the cliff face.

From her vantage point, she can tell you you’re on track: full steam ahead, you’re clear to the happily ever after.

She can direct you: Turn left at the next plot thread and follow that past the next two character traits–they’ll take you straight into revision hell.

She can look out for hazards: Follow the main conflict for another 150 pages, but watch that cliff hanger at around page 75. One wrong step and you’ll fall to your death.

She can see options: In about 3 chapters you’ll come to a fork in the plot. You can take either path, they will both take you to the same ending, you’ll just have different plot, conflict and character along the way. The right path is mostly downhill, but the character is rather dry. The left path has a bitch of an incline, but your pacing will kick ass.

I’m lucky to have the BEST critique partner on the planet–Elisabeth Naughton, who guided me along a jungle-worthy trail for hours when she had her own deadline looming.

E, you’re a keeper.

>Direction

>There’s nothing more valuable in the writer’s life than a trusted critique partner.

When you’re in the thick of any writing stage, from plot to polish, it’s easy to lose your way. A critique partner is the one standing on the mountaintop watching you make your way up a wooded trail. She’s got a bird’s eye view and a walkie-talkie to guide you when you’re stuck in a valley where you’re convinced your only escape involves scaling the cliff face.

From her vantage point, she can tell you you’re on track: full steam ahead, you’re clear to the happily ever after.

She can direct you: Turn left at the next plot thread and follow that past the next two character traits–they’ll take you straight into revision hell.

She can look out for hazards: Follow the main conflict for another 150 pages, but watch that cliff hanger at around page 75. One wrong step and you’ll fall to your death.

She can see options: In about 3 chapters you’ll come to a fork in the plot. You can take either path, they will both take you to the same ending, you’ll just have different plot, conflict and character along the way. The right path is mostly downhill, but the character is rather dry. The left path has a bitch of an incline, but your pacing will kick ass.

I’m lucky to have the BEST critique partner on the planet–Elisabeth Naughton, who guided me along a jungle-worthy trail for hours when she had her own deadline looming.

E, you’re a keeper.

Showing Up

>It’s a principal that I’ve always believed in…showing up.

Very early in my writing, I developed a routine. Back when I didn’t work as much as I do now, I got up with the kids, got them off to school and headed to my local McDonalds where I had an easy, cheap breakfast and a place to sit and write as long as I wanted (with free refillable drinks).

This may sound organized or disciplined or whatever…but it evolved out of a different need. My need to get away from the everyday demands of the household. And after a very short time, it became my own little social mecca. All the regulars, all the staff, knew me and I knew them. After years of writing, we’re more like an extended family than strangers eating at a local McDonalds.

I continued to return to the restaurant regularly for the camaraderie, the distraction, the space to be alone, yet not be alone while I toiled through the latest WIP. What I found was that simply showing up and opening the laptop screen was more productive than I ever imagined. Every day I did that–even if I’d only done it for the pretense of having a reason to sit there–proved productive. Some days, I’d simply read over my work and think about it. Some days I’d plot because the prose wouldn’t flow. But many days–most days–I wrote. And on those days, amazing things happened. Unexpected plot twists, previously unconsidered character depth, the random appearance of theme that deepened the work materialized.

All because I showed up.

On an odd parallel: I’ve been on a steep learning curve when it comes to my photography hobby. I’ve got a great camera. A ton of accessories. Haunt Internet photography tip sites. Have taken classes from professionals. Yet, my photos are consistently…less than what I expect.
Yesterday on the way home from a strenuous rafting trip, I was daydreaming out the window as my husband drove and my kids slept. The sky was an interesting mix with an incoming storm. As the sun started to drop, it became even more beautiful. For a fleeting second I thought, “I need to photograph this.” Then I thought, “No. Too much work. I’m too tired. Just going to enjoy the beauty.”

As I ogled the sky, I asked my husband, “My camera isn’t sitting around here somewhere, is it?” He said, “Yeah, it’s right here.” So I picked up my little point and shoot (b/c the really nice one was packed away) and took some quick shots through the passenger’s window. Just because. Just to be there. And this was one of the shots I came out with.

It was me, being there, making that extra effort just to “show up” so-to-speak that created this photo. Not the subject. Not the equipment.

So I keep showing up, because these are the little gems that make it all worth the effort. In photography, in writing, in life.

>Showing Up

>It’s a principal that I’ve always believed in…showing up.

Very early in my writing, I developed a routine. Back when I didn’t work as much as I do now, I got up with the kids, got them off to school and headed to my local McDonalds where I had an easy, cheap breakfast and a place to sit and write as long as I wanted (with free refillable drinks).

This may sound organized or disciplined or whatever…but it evolved out of a different need. My need to get away from the everyday demands of the household. And after a very short time, it became my own little social mecca. All the regulars, all the staff, knew me and I knew them. After years of writing, we’re more like an extended family than strangers eating at a local McDonalds.

I continued to return to the restaurant regularly for the camaraderie, the distraction, the space to be alone, yet not be alone while I toiled through the latest WIP. What I found was that simply showing up and opening the laptop screen was more productive than I ever imagined. Every day I did that–even if I’d only done it for the pretense of having a reason to sit there–proved productive. Some days, I’d simply read over my work and think about it. Some days I’d plot because the prose wouldn’t flow. But many days–most days–I wrote. And on those days, amazing things happened. Unexpected plot twists, previously unconsidered character depth, the random appearance of theme that deepened the work materialized.

All because I showed up.

On an odd parallel: I’ve been on a steep learning curve when it comes to my photography hobby. I’ve got a great camera. A ton of accessories. Haunt Internet photography tip sites. Have taken classes from professionals. Yet, my photos are consistently…less than what I expect.
Yesterday on the way home from a strenuous rafting trip, I was daydreaming out the window as my husband drove and my kids slept. The sky was an interesting mix with an incoming storm. As the sun started to drop, it became even more beautiful. For a fleeting second I thought, “I need to photograph this.” Then I thought, “No. Too much work. I’m too tired. Just going to enjoy the beauty.”

As I ogled the sky, I asked my husband, “My camera isn’t sitting around here somewhere, is it?” He said, “Yeah, it’s right here.” So I picked up my little point and shoot (b/c the really nice one was packed away) and took some quick shots through the passenger’s window. Just because. Just to be there. And this was one of the shots I came out with.

It was me, being there, making that extra effort just to “show up” so-to-speak that created this photo. Not the subject. Not the equipment.

So I keep showing up, because these are the little gems that make it all worth the effort. In photography, in writing, in life.

>O.M.G.

>This is how I feel thinking about rewriting these mss with the new paranormal twist.

It’s not just a little thing. It’s changes in all the details, character, plot. It’s an overarching storyline. It’s backstory.
It’s exhausting just to think about.

O.M.G.

>This is how I feel thinking about rewriting these mss with the new paranormal twist.

It’s not just a little thing. It’s changes in all the details, character, plot. It’s an overarching storyline. It’s backstory.
It’s exhausting just to think about.